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Daily News

February 24, 2017

British Columbia has named former Canadian trade minister David Emerson as special trade envoy to Washington to work with his U.S. counterparts on concluding a new softwood lumber agreement between the two countries – a Canadian priority that B.C. premier Christy Clark believes was not one of the Obama administration's.

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Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said reaching a trade agreement between the U.S. and United Kingdom could be easier than concluding a deal between the U.S. and European Union, because agriculture issues with the UK would be less difficult to resolve.

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Negotiations to redo agreements suspending U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties on Mexican sugar have paused due to turnover in the U.S. Agriculture and Commerce departments, but a former USDA undersecretary is optimistic that a deal can be struck once the Trump administration’s team is in place and brought up to speed.

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President Trump's directive for the Commerce Department to create a plan requiring use of U.S.-produced steel in all new and retrofitted pipelines is drawing strong praise from the industry, although how the department defines American-made steel could have significantly different impacts on different types of steel producers, according to industry sources, attorneys and others.

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February 23, 2017

Following reports that Mexican lawmakers plan to introduce a bill that would direct Mexicans to buy corn from Brazil, Argentina and Canada instead of the U.S. – its top exporter – U.S. lawmakers and companies are worried the Trump administration's rhetoric on Mexico could cause harm to U.S. farmers.

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Convincing China to allow imports of U.S. beef and hastening Beijing’s approval of genetically modified U.S. corn traits will be top priorities of President Trump’s pick for ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, the Iowa governor said on Feb. 23 during remarks at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Outlook Forum.

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Brazilian trade experts said Brazil will likely work to improve its position to pitch a bilateral agreement with the U.S. while also using what it sees as a protectionist turn by the Trump administration to pursue closer trade ties with China.

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Former U.S. trade officials and academic experts doubt that a major new trading initiative for the Asia-Pacific will be announced at the regional trade ministers meeting in Chile next month, while splitting over whether the absence of the United States at the meeting would allow China to take advantage of a void in U.S. trade leadership in the region.

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February 22, 2017

Trade attorney Stephen Vaughn will be named the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's general counsel if USTR nominee Robert Lighthizer is confirmed, and Gilbert Kaplan will be tapped for Commerce under secretary for international trade provided Commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross is approved by the Senate, according to multiple sources.

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Former U.S. and Canadian officials said the Trump administration should tone down its inflammatory rhetoric toward Mexico if it hopes to successfully renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said the WTO has a lot of "gray areas" on tax policy, leaving open the possibility that the House Republicans' border adjustability tax plan could be constructed to align with U.S. international obligations while not commenting on the specifics of the proposal.

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The World Trade Organization's first multilateral deal -- the Trade Facilitation Agreement -- entered into force on Feb. 22 with the completion of formal notification from two-thirds of the WTO membership that they had ratified the long-awaited agreement.

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Trump administration officials this week defended the current methodologies applied to collect and present U.S. trade data and statistics, and dismissed as “completely inaccurate” a report by the Wall Street Journal that claimed U.S. agencies are considering changing those methodologies.

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The U.S. International Trade Commission, as part of an investigation of global aluminum production and overcapacity issues, has received a slew of comments from interested parties slamming China for practices that allegedly have an adverse impact on U.S. and other producers.

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February 21, 2017

President Trump's picks for Commerce secretary and U.S. Trade Representative, once in place, are likely to water down the influence currently wielded by Peter Navarro, the director of the National Trade Council, according to former trade officials and other policy observers.

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The United States this week sharply criticized India for requesting a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel over state renewable energy programs and blocked formation of the panel, while characterizing India's move as “purely political.”

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February 17, 2017

A coalition of CEOs from U.S. industries particularly sensitive to foreign dumping is calling for increased enforcement of trade laws in order to restore the U.S. economy, and want Congress to make both statutory and practice changes to trade enforcement law.

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Analysts and industry sources say the 2016 elections of President Trump and Taiwan's relatively pro-U.S. President Tsai Ing-wen may create the best chance in years for a free trade agreement between the two countries, although observers warn that multiple hurdles remain in striking a bilateral deal.

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February 16, 2017

Analysts and academics clashed today at the Peterson Institute for International Economics over President Trump’s trade policy options in a post-Trans-Pacific Partnership world, with some saying that the Asia-Pacific deal should be revamped, enlarged and renamed. Argument also erupted over whether the administration's plan to pursue bilateral deals, including one with Japan, will succeed.

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Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), joined by six House Democrats, on Thursday introduced a resolution called the “Blueprint for America’s Future Trade Policy” that outlines principles and a time line for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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