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Daily News

February 13, 2004

European Union Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler will address multilateral issues, particularly reviving the Doha Round, as well as bilateral trade problems when he meets with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and other senior U.S. officials next week. Fischler will visit Washington from Feb. 18 to 20 and will give a speech at the USDA’s Agriculture Outlook Forum on “Farm Policies and their Reform: Lessons from Europe” on Feb. 19.

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February 10, 2004

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) today (Feb. 10) said he is leaning in favor of supporting a free-trade agreement with Australia but has yet to make a final decision pending review of the final text. Grassley warned that the exclusion of sugar and the sheltering of beef and dairy from Australian imports could hurt U.S. agriculture in the long run by encouraging other countries to exclude sensitive commodities from bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

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February 08, 2004

The U.S. and Australia today (Feb. 8) announced they had concluded a free-trade agreement that excludes new market access for sugar and to a large extent shelters U.S. beef and dairy producers from Australian competition. The U.S. would agree to increase market access for Australian dairy and beef, but would never fully open its market by phasing out its above-quota duties on dairy.

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February 06, 2004

U.S. and Australian negotiators are continuing their eleventh-hour push to conclude a free-trade agreement, but a U.S. official signaled today (Feb. 6) that there is no more than a 50-50 chance that the talks will conclude successfully before the two trade ministers involved leave Washington this weekend.

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February 05, 2004

Negotiators working to conclude a free-trade deal between the U.S. and Australia appear to have made little headway over the past week on the most controversial subjects despite engagement by the two trade ministers and now face a de facto deadline of this weekend for striking a deal.

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February 04, 2004

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) late last week rejected arguments from Bacardi-Martini USA that USPTO should not recognize the registration of the “Havana Club” rum trademark by a Cuban state-owned company. Bacardi had argued that the Cuban company, Cubaexport, should have its registration canceled because it did not renew the registration of the mark when it expired in 1996.

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January 30, 2004

A U.S. trade official yesterday (Jan. 29) clearly signaled that the U.S. will not insist that the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations include new talks on transparency in government procurement, which so far have been resisted by Malaysia and other developing countries.

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January 25, 2004

The U.S. and Costa Rica today (Jan. 25) announced that they have concluded talks that would bring Costa Rica into a Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) that was concluded late last year between the U.S. and four other Central American countries.

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January 23, 2004

U.S. and Costa Rican negotiators working to conclude free trade agreement negotiations today (Jan. 23) are bogged down on Costa Rican market access demands on textiles and agricultural goods, but Costa Rican sources said they were confident the negotiations could still be concluded later tonight.

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January 21, 2004

The Bush Administration has decided against offering Australia additional market access for sugar in negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, a position that contrasts how the Administration has proposed handling other import sensitive commodities in talks with that country.

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January 16, 2004

The Bush Administration has asked interested parties for input that will help inform a report that the new Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba will complete for the president by May. The Commission was established on Bush’s suggestion in an Oct. 10 speech, and is charged with making recommendations on what measures the U.S. could take to “help the Cuban people to bring about an expeditious end of the [Castro

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January 14, 2004

Informed sources said last week that Pernod Ricard, a French company that has opposed the controversial U.S. trademark law known as Section 211, recommended to the European Union that the U.S. be given another year to implement a World Trade Organization decision that found the law to violate WTO rules. These sources said EU officials were more in favor of not extending the U.S. compliance deadline past Dec. 31, 2003, but that Pernod Ricard asked for an extension in order to give the U.S. more time to consider legislation that would repeal the law altogether.

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January 09, 2004

Switzerland has offered to host a World Trade Organization mini-ministerial in conjunction with this month’s World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, a European Commission spokesman said today (Jan. 9).

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December 24, 2003

When free trade agreement negotiations between the U.S. and Costa Rica reconvene in January, Costa Rica will be looking to the U.S. for improved market access offers on textile and agricultural products otherwise it will be difficult for Costa Rica to open up its telecommunications and insurance markets, Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Trade Alberto Trejos told Inside U.S. Trade this week.

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative faces a crowded agenda next year as it will attempt to seek Congressional approval for the free-trade agreements that it has negotiated, open negotiations with eight other countries on bilateral pacts and continue efforts to advance the currently stalled Doha round of World Trade Organization talks, according to a senior trade official.

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The U.S. and the European Commission have formally notified the World Trade Organization that they have agreed to extend for one year the implementation deadline to section 211, a U.S. trademark law, according to a U.S. trade official.

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The U.S. has rescheduled a negotiating session for a free-trade agreement with the Southern African Customs Union for February next year after canceling a December meeting, according to a USTR spokesman.

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December 16, 2003

The U.S. and five Central American countries will likely miss their Dec. 16 deadline for concluding negotiations on a free trade agreement following a decision by Costa Rican negotiators that they could not finalize negotiations in a number of key areas. The U.S. and Costa Rica are expected to meet again in January to complete negotiations.

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December 15, 2003

December 11, 2003

Trade ministers from the U.S. and Central America are today (Dec. 11) expected to intervene in what is scheduled to be the last round of negotiations on a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and five Central American countries that are set to conclude by Dec 16.

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