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USTR, Public Citizen At Odds On Methodology For Assessing TPP Tariff Cuts

In the fight over the purported benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and prominent TPP critic Public Citizen are blasting as inaccurate each other's methodology for calculating how many U.S. exports would see foreign tariffs eliminated under the deal and whether those cuts are meaningful.

U.S., EU To Increase Tariffs Subject To Immediate Elimination, But Clash On Eliminating All

United States and European Union negotiators this week slightly increased the number of tariffs that would go to zero immediately when a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership went into effect, but clashed over whether tariffs for very sensitive items would ultimately be eliminated in such a deal.

Treasury Says Countries Avoid 'Enhanced Analysis' Of Currency Practices

The Treasury Department in its semi-annual foreign exchange report for the first time employed new currency manipulation monitoring tools and placed five countries -- China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Germany -- on a “monitoring list,” but determined none of the countries triggered requirements for “enhanced analysis” included in the 2015 Customs Bill.

Senate By Voice Vote Confirms Jacobson As U.S. Ambassador To Mexico

The Senate on April 28 by voice vote confirmed Roberta Jacobson to be the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico after her nomination had been stalled for nine months.

TTIP Round Produces Signs Of New Flexibilities On GIs, Services Exceptions

The 13th round of negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has produced signs of new flexibility as the European Union signaled it is willing to scale back the number of food products that it wants to protect as geographical indications, and to scale back services exceptions that would allow it to impose discriminatory measures in the future, according to informed sources.

Section 337 Petition Against Chinese Steel Faces At Least Two Hurdles

A section 337 petition filed this week by the U.S. Steel Corporation that seeks to ban all imports of Chinese steel due to illegal, unfair competition could run into two key hurdles in terms of domestic law and World Trade Organization rules that limit import restrictions, according to private-sector sources.

World Trade Organization

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  • The United States and China appear to have tabled in March differing proposals on tariff phaseouts in the World Trade Organization's plurilateral Environmental Goods Agreement, with the U.S. proposal aligning with phaseouts used in the Information Technology Agreement and the Chinese proposal offering developing countries more protection than developed countries would receive, according to documents obtained by Inside U.S. Trade this week.

  • Concluding a plurilateral Environmental Goods Agreement, completing negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and addressing China's overcapacity in steel and other products are among the Obama administration’s top remaining economic priorities with respect to China, U.S. officials told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on April 26.

Around the World

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  • The Senate Finance Committee has set May 11 as the date for a previously postponed hearing on the implementation of the new customs law and CBP's efforts to enhance trade facilitation and enforce U.S. trade laws, Chairman Hatch's (R-UT) office announced on April 29.

  • A European Commission memo leaked last week provides the first detailed arguments to back up its claims in the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that the U.S. overestimates the amount of government procurement that is open to EU companies, though the U.S. government disagrees with these claims.

FTA Central

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  • Greenpeace threw a jab at European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom's response to the group's publication of leaked Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiating documents, arguing her claim that the commission is pushing for the so-called precautionary principle to be included in the final deal is not supported by the leaked texts.

  • A leaked document on the state of play as of March in the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) shows that U.S. and European Union negotiators have been unable to bridge differences on a range of key issues including regulatory cooperation on cosmetics and engineering, according to a copy released by Greenpeace Netherlands.