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Daily News

May 20, 2005

The European Commission has submitted a proposal to member states for an amendment to World Trade Organization intellectual property rules that sources said is likely to be controversial with the United States.

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May 17, 2005

Chief U.S. Agriculture Negotiator Allen Johnson later this year will leave his spot in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where he has been involved in the Doha round of trade negotiations and in bilateral trade agreements, according to a U.S. trade official.

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The ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee today (May 17) expressed his support for U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization, but warned that decisions adverse to the United States are threatening to cause “serious trouble” in terms of congressional support for the WTO.

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May 13, 2005

A majority of World Trade Organization members have thrown their support behind former European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy to take the position of WTO director general and succeed Supachai Panitchpakdi on Sept. 1.

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May 11, 2005

The House Ways and Means Committee will name Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY) as a replacement for newly appointed U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman on the trade subcommittee. The announcement will be made prior to the May 12 hearing on Social Security, according to House Republican aides.

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May 09, 2005

U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Linnet Deily told staff in Geneva today that she planned to retire and would leave her position effective June 15 to return to the United States. Deily, a Texas native, was the first and only U.S. ambassador to the WTO under the Bush Administration.

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May 04, 2005

PARIS -- The U.S., European Union and three other key World Trade Organization members made progress this morning (May 4) in a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement on technical work in the agriculture negotiations following the EU’s tabling of a new proposal, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told reporters today.

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PARIS -- The U.S., European Union and three other members of the World Trade Organization have struck a deal on a technical issue that has held up the agriculture negotiations of the Doha round and threatened to prevent progress in other areas. They reached agreement on how to calculate the so-called ad valorem equivalent tariffs, which will form the basis for negotiating agricultural tariff cuts.

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PARIS --U.S. Trade Representative Robert Portman today (May 4) offered an outline of what progress needs to be made in the World Trade Organization talks by July to ensure a positive outcome at the Hong Kong ministerial this December. Members hope to reach agreements on negotiating modalities in agriculture and non-agriculture market access (NAMA).

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May 03, 2005

World Trade Organization Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi has appointed three arbitrators who will decide a critical aspect of a banana fight pitting Latin American producers against the European Union. The panel will decide whether an EU proposed tariff for bananas to be imposed in January 2006 provides market access at least as favorable as what these banana exporters enjoy now.

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PARIS -- After two days of talks, the U.S. and four other key World Trade Organization members today (May 3) still have not been able to reach an agreement on controversial technical work critical for the Doha round agriculture talks. This falls short of their goal to have reached a deal before a meeting of trade ministers from selected WTO members to be held tomorrow.

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April 29, 2005

Former European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has emerged as a favorite to succeed World Trade Organization Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi following the second round of consultations with WTO members.

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April 28, 2005

Senate staffers said the full Senate was expected to vote late tonight (April 28) to confirm Rob Portman as the next U.S. Trade Representative, after Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) agreed to drop his hold on Portman. Some sources said the Senate was expected to vote on Portman as late as 11 p.m.

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April 26, 2005

The Senate Finance Committee today unanimously recommended that the Senate approve the Bush Administration’s nominee for U.S. trade representative, Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH). The recommendation was given in a voice vote at a hearing today (April 26) on Social Security.

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Republican Senate leaders plan to press ahead with a floor vote on the nomination of Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) as the United States trade representative after the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved him on April 26.

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April 25, 2005

Officials from the so-called five interested parties (FIPS) of the U.S., European Union, Brazil, India and Australia will meet in Paris early next week to try to resolve a dispute over technical work that threatens to slow progress in the entire Doha round of talks, government sources said.

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April 22, 2005

Ambassadors of the European Union unanimously approved a regulation yesterday (April 21) that will establish a 15 percent tariff on U.S. goods effective next month in retaliation for the U.S. failure to repeal the so-called “Byrd law,” according to a Commission spokesman. Member state ministers will formally approve the regulation at an April 25-26 General Affairs and External Relations Council without any further debate, he said.

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April 20, 2005

The Senate is likely to confirm Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) as the next U.S. Trade Representative sometime next week following tomorrow’s confirmation hearing at the Senate Finance Committee, according to a GOP aide. The aide said GOP leaders are aware of a May 4 meeting of trade ministers on the World Trade Organization negotiations, and would like Portman to be able to attend in his new capacity as USTR.

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April 18, 2005

Brazil and India have taken a hard line against demands by the U.S. and European Union that the Doha round must move industrial tariffs towards harmonization by insisting that this principle was not laid out as an objective in the mandate launching the World Trade Organization negotiations.

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April 15, 2005

Felipe de Seixas Correa, Brazil’s candidate for the World Trade Organization director general slot, has been asked the leave the race to replace Supachai Panitchpakdi after members signaled in consultations that he would be the least likely to emerge as a consensus choice among the four candidates.

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