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Inside U.S. Trade - December 19, 2014

TPP Countries Intent On Starting Legal Scrub Prior To Reaching Agreement

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries are intent on beginning a legal review of chapters that have already been closed prior to reaching a final agreement on the overall deal, according to informed sources. They said this move is unusual and aimed at minimizing the delay between the conclusion of the negotiations and the signing of the agreement, thereby allowing a speedier ratification by signatories.

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Cuba Trade Policy Changes Expand Permitted Exports, Ease Payment Terms

The new policies announced by President Obama on Dec. 17 as part of a new course with Cuba would expand the type of goods that U.S. companies can ship to Cuba beyond the current exports of agricultural goods and medical equipment -- provided they are sold to private buyers -- and also ease existing restrictions on the payment terms.

Wyden Asks ITC To Analyze Impact Of Trade, Travel Restrictions On Exports To Cuba

Coinciding with the President's announcement of seeking a new course on Cuba, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked the International Trade Commission (ITC) to analyze how U.S. restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba affects U.S. exports of goods and services there.

EU Requests WTO Consultations With U.S. Over New Tax Breaks To Boeing

The European Union on Friday (Dec. 19) requested consultations at the World Trade Organization over a new round of tax breaks provided by Washington state to Boeing, charging they amount to illegal subsidies contingent on the use of domestic products over imported ones. The move opens up a new chapter in a decade-long trade dispute with the United States over subsidies both sides provided to their respective aircraft manufacturers.

U.S. Officials Announce JCCT Progress On AML, GMO Approvals, GIs

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman have announced progress in tackling a range of Chinese trade barriers in this week's meeting of the Joint Commission On Commerce and Trade (JCCT), including new pledges for the fair application of China's anti-monopoly law (AML).

Senior White House Official Signals Administration Wants TPA Prior To TPP Deal

A senior White House economic official has publicly signaled that the Obama administration is seeking congressional approval of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation prior to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which he said were in their final stages.

U.S. Ag Industry Pushes 'Framework' On China Biotech Approval Timelines

Amid signs that China may soon approve several backlogged U.S. applications to import genetically modified grains, the U.S. agriculture industry is urging the Obama administration not to settle for this incremental progress and secure a broader range of commitments from Beijing at this week's Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT).

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World Trade Organization
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  • ITA Expansion Negotiators Fail To Reach Deal; Next Steps Still Unclear

    Following a failure by negotiators to reach a deal on the product scope of an expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA) before their self-imposed deadline of Dec. 12, sources said there is no clear path forward for resolving the deadlock between China's resistance to South Korean and Taiwanese demands to cut tariffs on critical products.

  • TISA Market Access Talks Stall Amid Stark Divide Over 'MFN Forward'

    Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) market access talks have all but ground to a halt due to a continuing fight between the United States and most other participants over whether a final TISA deal should obligate a signatory to give other members the same benefits it grants to third countries in separate free trade agreements.

Around the World
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  • USTR Staff Satisfaction On The Upswing, But Resource Challenges Linger

    Employee morale at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has improved markedly since last year, but there are still significant worries among staff at the agency about the adequacy of the resources at their disposal to do their jobs, according to the results of a survey conducted by the administration.

  • Hatch Says Trade, Including TPA Renewal, First On Finance Agenda In 2015

    Advancing the trade policy agenda, including the renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), will be one of the first issues the Senate Finance Committee will address when it returns under Republican leadership at the beginning of next year, and these issues will take up much of the agenda early in the year, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the presumptive chairman of the Finance Committee.

FTA Central
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  • Obama, Abe Discuss Completing TPP In 2015 After LDP Election Victory

    President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week discussed their plan to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in 2015 during a phone call that followed the Dec. 14 Japanese elections in which Abe's governing coalition held on to a sizable majority in the lower house of the Diet. Experts said that the election victory will likely strengthen Abe's hand to press ahead with his economic plan, which includes completing TPP.

  • EU Seeks Broad Access To Local U.S. Procurement Under TTIP, Paper Shows

    The European Commission wants sweeping new commitments in a U.S.-EU trade deal that would ensure EU firms are given much more open access not only to procurement by U.S. states, but also cities, counties, public universities and public hospitals, according a negotiating document released by a U.S. advocacy group.

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