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Daily News

June 18, 2007

Incoming Undersecretary of Commerce for Export Administration Mario Mancuso late last week endorsed a more finely honed export control system that is more focused on end users than the current system, but said he could not say if other agencies would endorse a complete shift from the current system of country-based controls in the long-term.

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June 13, 2007

House Ways and Means Committee Member and New Democrat Coalition vice chair Joseph Crowley (D-NY) said yesterday (June 12) it is unlikely the House will vote on the Peru and Panama free trade agreements before the August recess. He said he based this assessment on signals from the House leadership.

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June 12, 2007

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said today (June 12) that the parties involved in drafting a new template for free trade agreements are “very close to getting the text done.” She implied that the issues remaining are technical legal issues when she said “you know how lawyers are.”

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June 11, 2007

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) today (June 11) differed sharply over whether a provision in the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement on outward processing zones conforms to the May 10 trade framework the Bush Administration negotiated with the Democratic Congress.

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June 05, 2007

Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Frank Lavin today (June 5) tendered his resignation to work in the private sector, estimating he will leave his current slot by mid-July.

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The Bush Administration supports a “short-term extension” of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) for all four countries as a result of an interagency clearance process, according to an official at Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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May 25, 2007

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signaled today (May 25) that she is cool to demands from some members of the Democratic Caucus to only advance trade bills that are backed by the majority of the party.

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Panama’s Ambassador to the United States said today (May 25) his country will not have to make major changes to its policies by accepting as part of its free trade agreement with the U.S. the trade template worked out by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and the Bush Administration.

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May 23, 2007

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Korean government this week signaled that they might release the text of their bilateral free-trade agreement within a matter of days.

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May 18, 2007

Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, today (May 18) warned that it is difficult for the Mexican government to abide by its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement when the United States fails to open its market to Mexican exports and trucking. The NAFTA is to be fully implemented by Jan. 1, 2008.

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May 15, 2007

Ranking Ways and Means Committee Member Jim McCrery (R-LA) said yesterday (May 14) that he did not see a major loss in Republican votes in the House and Senate voting against pending bilateral trade deals because of last week’s deal struck with the Democrats to strengthen their labor provisions and make other changes.

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House Ways and Means Ranking Member Jim McCrery (R-LA) this week said it is his preference and that of U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab that the new obligations for free trade agreements announced last week not lead to a reopening of the Peru FTA. He acknowledged that this would require convincing Democrats of the merits of this approach.

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Japan yesterday (May 14) took the first step towards easing its rules with respect to opening its market to U.S. beef by beginning a round of audits at U.S. beef plants, according to White House and Agriculture Department officials.

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May 11, 2007

The conceptual agreement for free trade agreements worked out between House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and the Bush Administration would alter three key intellectual property protection provisions in pending FTAs in ways that would make it easier for generic drugs to win marketing approval.

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May 10, 2007

House Democrats and Republicans are within reach of a deal with the Bush Administration on how free trade agreements should be changed with regards to labor and other key provisions to the point of briefing business groups and the AFL-CIO on May 9 on the new terms, according to informed sources.

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May 04, 2007

The U.S. today (May 4) notified the World Trade Organization that it intends to remove a market access commitment covering Internet gambling based outside of the U.S. from its services schedule negotiated during the Uruguay Round as a way to comply with an adverse dispute settlement ruling in a case brought by Antigua.

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April 25, 2007

Staff for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the House Ways and Means Committee has been working intensively on enforcement language for new labor obligations that the U.S. would take on in free trade agreements in the hope of concluding this week.

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April 24, 2007

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has provided the full U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement to cleared advisors and members of Congress, according to USTR spokesman Stephen Norton.

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April 23, 2007

World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy said today (April 23) that the chairmen of key negotiating groups in the Doha round will develop modalities papers before the summer break regardless of whether small groups like the G4 will reach a common understanding on the outline of an agriculture deal.

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April 20, 2007

World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy today (April 20) told an informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee that efforts to revive the stalled Doha negotiations will shift back to a multilateral process that he said will benefit from small groups of members being able narrow their differences on key negotiating areas, but will not wait for them to do so.

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