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Daily News

December 09, 2003

The U.S. and Morocco have failed to meet their initial goal of concluding negotiations for a bilateral free-trade agreement this month over what industry sources said were difficulties regarding agricultural market access. Negotiations are now set to resume in January 2004.

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December 08, 2003

Two House members last week introduced legislation that would impose a 100 percent tax on any profit made through an arrangement with Cuba in which Cuba agrees to buy US goods in return for efforts by a US entity to lobby Congress to lift trade or travel restrictions against Cuba.

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Immediately preceding what is meant to be the final round of negotiations on a bilateral free-trade agreement between the U.S. and five Central American countries (CAFTA), the lead U.S. negotiator warned that failure to conclude the negotiations as scheduled by Dec. 16 could jeopardize the chances of the agreement coming before Congress for a vote next year.

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December 05, 2003

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile agreed today (Dec. 5) it would be necessary to extend talks between the two countries on a free-trade agreement through January, according to Ralph Ives, the lead U.S. negotiator. By doing so, they fail to meet a target set by President Bush for concluding these negotiations by the end of the year.

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December 04, 2003

Citing changed economic circumstances, President Bush today (Dec.4) announced that he was lifting at mid-term the section 201 steel tariffs he imposed in March last year for a three-year period. By lifting the tariffs, which had been found to violate the World Trade Organization, the U.S. avoided retaliation by the European Union and other trading partners.

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December 03, 2003

December 01, 2003

Today’s meeting of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body did not consider the adoption of a WTO Appellate Body report against the U.S. Section 201 steel tariffs. Instead, the adoption of this report has been placed on the agenda of a Dec. 10 DSB meeting. At today’s DSB meeting, the U.S. also asked for an extension of the deadline to implement a WTO decision on a Japanese hot-rolled steel case. The U.S. requested that the deadline be moved to July 31, 2004.

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Domestic steel industry sources signaled today (Dec.1) that they expect the Bush Administration to announce in short order a decision to lift the section 201 steel tariffs it imposed last year but stressed that they had not been informed by the executive branch that a decision had been made.

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November 19, 2003

MIAMI--A draft declaration (doc #7535) for this week’s Free Trade Area of the Americas’ ministerial floated over the weekend appears to have done little to resolve the dispute over the scope of the FTAA, particularly the central issue of whether the FTAA will include plurilateral agreements on some controversial issues, and whether market access will be tied to the level of commitments FTAA members’ choose to undertake, as the U.S. has suggested.

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MIAMI--FTAA ministers meeting here tomorrow and Friday appear increasingly likely to endorse a ministerial declaration that holds open the possibilities of including plurilateral deals as part of an FTAA, and linking favorable market access to participation in such deals, as a revised draft declaration released this morning included no changes to these issues from the previous draft floated over the weekend by FTAA co-chairs Brazil and the U.S.

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November 18, 2003

Additionally, the FTAA should incorporate sufficient flexibility to deal with countries’ different situations, recognize that benefits are related to obligations and deal with the special circumstances of small economies.

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The Commerce Department's Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements last night (Nov. 17) voted to support three industry petitions seeking to impose a safeguard against imports of knit fabric, gowns and brassieres.

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November 14, 2003

European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will meet in Geneva next week with a group of 90 developing countries known as the G-90 that includes most African countries and all of the World Trade Organization’s least developed countries.

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November 11, 2003

A majority of the European Union’s 15 member states on Monday (Nov. 10) put off a decision on approving a genetically modified sweet corn for import to the EU until at least December, saying it was premature to offer their approval until they had more information on how the labeling and transparency rules approved by the EU last month will be implemented, according to diplomatic and private sector sources.

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November 10, 2003

House Republican leaders today cancelled all votes for the week, casting more doubt on whether the House will act on a bill this year to repeal the Foreign Sales Corporation tax regime, which along with its successor, the Extraterritorial Income Act, has been declared an illegal export subsidy by the World Trade Organization.

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A World Trade Organization Appellate Body ruling issued today (Nov. 10) largely upholds an initial panel ruling that declared the U.S. 201 tariffs on steel imports to be a violation of WTO rules governing safeguard measures. The Appellate Body ruling confirmed the earlier panel’s findings that the U.S. failed to meet WTO rules requiring that a safeguard be imposed in the face of increased imports and that such an increase is the result of unforeseen developments.

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November 03, 2003

European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy’s assessment next week of how the U.S. is progressing on repealing the Foreign Sales Corporation and its successor regime could lead him to decide that the European Union should move up its date for retaliation against U.S. exports from its current target date, according to a spokesman for the Commission.

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October 31, 2003

The chief U.S. negotiator for the Free Trade Area of the Americas today (Oct. 31) said next month’s Miami ministerial should provide clear direction for resolving countries’ different visions on the scope of a final deal. The U.S. continues to believe that negotiators should push for an FTAA that is “as ambitious as possible,” but recognizes that some mechanism will need to be found to accommodate the demands of Brazil and Argentina to scale back the scope of the FTAA, according to Chief U.S. FTAA negotiator Ross Wilson.

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October 30, 2003

As countries continue to grapple with the potential scope of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the U.S. has proposed hosting a mini-ministerial of selected trade ministers in early November to attempt to break the deadlock over the breadth of commitments that should be reflected in the agreement. The mini-ministerial will likely take place on Nov. 8, before the FTAA ministerial in Miami, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

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