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Daily News

April 01, 2021

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Thursday urged Vietnam to address U.S. concerns with the country’s currency practices, which were outlined by the outgoing Trump administration in a January report on a Section 301 investigation that did not lead to any new tariffs or trade restrictions.

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President Biden on Thursday instructed his Cabinet secretaries to review their departments’ Buy America policies to ensure they are in line with a January executive order Biden signed to expand domestic government procurement.

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The Biden administration will maintain the previous administration’s determination that Hong Kong should no longer receive special treatment from the U.S., Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Wednesday, arguing that China has restricted the autonomy of Hong Kong.

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Chinese government agencies this week issued a series of preferential policies, including tariff cuts and tax exemptions, for its semiconductor industry as part of China’s broader initiative to shore up domestic manufacturing of high-tech products.

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A nearly week-long blockage of the Suez Canal revealed a new chokepoint for global supply chains already strained by pandemic-related shipping bottlenecks, analysts said on Wednesday, suggesting diversification, automation and digitalization could help make supply chains more resilient.

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March 31, 2021

The trade ministers of the G7 countries on Wednesday committed to advancing World Trade Organization reform and ensuring political momentum for the organization’s upcoming ministerial conference, pledging as well to develop “high-level principles” on digital trade yet this year, according to a statement from the G7 president, the United Kingdom.

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China still “has work to do” on intellectual property rights protection improvements mandated under its phase-one trade deal with the U.S., the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says in its annual National Trade Estimate, an exhaustive list of concerns about trade barriers worldwide.

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The global economic recovery will be aided by a stronger-than-expected rebound in global merchandise trade, the World Trade Organization said on Wednesday, but Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned the comeback remains uneven as vaccine distribution trails in significant swaths of the globe, urging countries to prioritize widespread vaccine access to ensure a strong, long-term recovery.

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The infrastructure plan the Biden administration is set to release on Wednesday endorses a range of congressional proposals aimed at boosting U.S. manufacturing and innovation to compete with China in high-tech areas and calls on Congress to fund many of the proposed initiatives.

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Efforts to liberalize trade across Africa should move the U.S. to eschew bilateral talks and engage with the continent as a whole, according to veteran trade analyst and negotiator Stephen Lande, who spoke with Inside U.S. Trade about what he thinks a new approach to U.S.-Africa trade should look like.

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March 30, 2021

Congress and the administration should start working now to renew Trade Promotion Authority so the U.S. is able to pursue future trade goals, such as concluding negotiations with the United Kingdom, opening new markets in Africa and potentially even rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Tuesday.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection stands ready to implement U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement auto rules no matter how they are interpreted by the Biden administration, a senior official said last week, as some in the industry look to change the Trump administration’s take.

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Trade ministers from the G7 countries on Wednesday will discuss World Trade Organization reform, the role of trade in addressing climate change, facilitating digital trade and unfair trading practices, according to British Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who will chair the meeting.

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The U.S. is not planning to put U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dispute resolution mechanisms to use anytime soon to address ongoing concerns with Mexico’s agriculture practices, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Friday.

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March 29, 2021

The United Kingdom and India defended their digital services taxes this week after the U.S. on Friday announced it would seek comments on a list of tariffs it could impose on a handful of countries in retaliation for DSTs, which the U.S. says unfairly target major American tech companies.

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The U.S. must better understand the “gendered impacts of trade” to shape more effective policy, a senior adviser to Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said on Friday, noting continued Government Accountability Office work the senator hopes will shed more light on how U.S. trade agreements affect women-owned businesses.

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The co-chairs of the congressional Digital Trade Caucus want U.S. Trade Representative Katherina Tai to “embrace a bold digital trade strategy” that pushes back on what they allege are protectionist and discriminatory policies originating in Europe and Asia.

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March 26, 2021

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is mulling tariffs on $880 billion in goods from six countries that have imposed digital services taxes, the agency announced on Friday, requesting public comment as it pursues “next steps” in Section 301 investigations begun during the Trump administration.

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The U.S. on Friday objected to the adoption of the agenda for a Dispute Settlement Body meeting in Geneva because it contained a panel request from individuals acting on behalf of what the U.S. views as an illegitimate regime in Venezuela, according to a Geneva trade official. The meeting was suspended.

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If the World Trade Organization is a slowly sinking ship, as some argue, then one of its biggest leaks – a gaping hole, in the eyes of the U.S., European Union and others – is the organization's failure to rein in the trade-distorting practices of China’s state capitalist system. Can the WTO plug that hole? Or is it already too far underwater?

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