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Daily News

April 25, 2017

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said April 25 that the Trump administration will need more time to review the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership before deciding on whether to move forward with the negotiations.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross -- after announcing preliminary countervailing duty rates for softwood lumber from Canada this week -- on Tuesday said “one of the problems” with NAFTA is that lumber and an unrelated dairy dispute with Canada are two key areas not covered by the trilateral agreement, which he said is stalled in Congress.

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An arbitrator at the World Trade Organization has determined that Mexico is entitled to levy trade restrictions on imports from the U.S. worth $163.23 million per year, the latest development in an eight-year battle over U.S. dolphin-safe tuna labeling requirements.

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The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday pledged to push hard for the confirmation of Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative, pulling out “all the stops” to ensure a waiver for the nominee as well as benefits for mine workers are approved quickly.

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House and Senate Democrats on Tuesday released a report on President Trump’s “broken promises” to American workers, included the administration’s decision not to label China a currency manipulator, its failure to date to launch NAFTA renegotiations and a lack of action on various “Buy American” proposals.

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U.S. Trade Representative nominee Robert Lighthizer was unanimously approved by the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, sending his nomination to the Senate floor. The panel also approved a statutory waiver to allow him to serve as USTR.

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April 24, 2017

The Commerce Department's decision to hit Canadian exporters of softwood lumber with tariffs of up to 24 percent, announced on Monday, sparked an immediate and defiant reaction from Canada even as the country insisted a new negotiated agreement remained the best possible solution.

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), shortly after announcing a markup for the confirmation of U.S. Trade Representative nominee Robert Lighthizer -- and a statutory waiver that would allow him to serve -- told Inside U.S. Trade on Tuesday a deal struck between him and his panel’s Democrats includes funding only for the healthcare portion of an unrelated miners’ bill.

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The Senate on Monday confirmed former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as Agriculture secretary, which Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) touted by saying “I’m very happy with this vote; he’s a good man.”

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A coalition of 18 firms and business groups is pressing for the Trump administration to ensure restrictions on duty drawbacks are removed from NAFTA, arguing the provisions are outdated and harm U.S. manufacturers and exporters.

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April 22, 2017

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, standing alongside Vice President Mike Pence, said Saturday that the U.S. had the right to end its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that “each nation is committed to protecting its economic interests first and foremost,” while Pence reiterated the U.S. “America-first” policy and the administration’s preference for bilateral trade deals.

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April 21, 2017

Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso this week offered “no guarantee” the United States will strike a better deal with Tokyo if it chooses to pursue a bilateral trade agreement, stressing that U.S. gains with Japan in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership depended on other countries “balancing out the gains and losses.”

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The Indian government is tracking the Trump administration’s evolving trade policy, particularly actions that could affect services exports and the distribution of H-1B visas, but the Indian business community is bullish on the economic relationship between the two countries remaining fruitful.

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The criteria set out in President Trump's executive order requiring the Commerce Department to analyze the trading practices of other countries to determine why the United States has bilateral trade deficits could prevent an accurate assessment of why those deficits exist, according to academics and former officials.

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The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Friday that it will continue investigating imports of aluminum foil from China, which the U.S. industry claims are causing material injury to the domestic industry.

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Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, expressed optimism this week that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the U.S. and the European Union “has not failed forever” but said it should be made simpler and more transparent to better the chances of approval on both sides of the Atlantic.

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April 20, 2017

President Trump has ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to hasten the department's Section 232 investigation into the national security implications of steel imports, which Ross said can be completed within the 270-day time line laid out in Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act.

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U.S. Steel Corp. in arguments before the U.S. International Trade Commission on April 20 asserted that antitrust claims could be entirely blocked from coming before the ITC if plaintiffs must demonstrate antitrust injury under the section 337 statute, saying the requirement is “impossible to meet” -- and that this would lead to increased dependence on foreign steel and jeopardize the ability to provide adequate products used for national defense purposes.

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Darci Vetter, chief agriculture negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during the Obama administration, this week cautioned President Trump’s team to seek a more measured approach to NAFTA talks and warned that a failure to do so could backfire against the U.S. agriculture industry in particular, making it an easy target for retaliation.

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April 19, 2017

President Trump on Thursday will order an investigation under Section 232(B) of the Trade Expansion Act, kicking off a 270-day clock for the Commerce Department to determine whether steel imports are harming national security.

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