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Daily News

October 05, 2005

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) today (Oct. 5) said U.S. trade negotiators will not be able to agree to specific cuts of counter-cyclical payments at this point in the Doha round as demanded by the European Union, Brazil and other trading partners.

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October 03, 2005

The European Union has offered to reduce its allowable limit on trade-distorting domestic subsidies in agriculture by 65 percent under a new World Trade Organization agreement provided the U.S. agree to reduce its allowable limit of $19.1 billion by 55 percent, according to Geneva sources.

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U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman today (Oct. 3) announced that the U.S. government will appeal a World Trade Organization compliance panel decision issued last week that the foreign sales corporation (FSC) tax law still violates WTO rules.

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September 30, 2005

The government of Mexico today (Sept. 30) announced that it would partially open its market to U.S. exports of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by up to 250,000 tons from Oct. 1, 2005 to Sept. 30, 2006, according to a notice in the Diario Oficial.

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A 50 percent reduction in allowable limits on trade distorting amber box subsidies is the outer limit of what the U.S. should accept in a World Trade Organization deal on agriculture, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said today (Sept. 30).

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September 27, 2005

Brazil late last week announced it will ask the World Trade Organization for authorization to impose trade sanctions on the U.S. within the next 30 days as retaliation for the U.S. failure to end various cotton subsidies found to have injured Brazilian producers, according to Brazilian officials.

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September 26, 2005

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing Thursday (Sept. 29) to consider a free trade agreement (FTA) that the U.S. has negotiated with Bahrain, marking the first step in the process of congressional approval of the deal.

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The U.S. has many reservations about a tariff-reduction formula floated by the EU last week during talks in Paris of key World Trade Organization (WTO) members that would provide more flexibility for the EU and other importers as they reduce farm tariffs under a new WTO agreement, according to a U.S. trade official.

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September 16, 2005

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said today (Sept. 16) that the Bush Administration is considering waiving punitive duties on building materials, including lumber and steel, to aid the reconstruction efforts in the Gulf region after Hurricane Katrina. Portman said the issue of waiving antidumping and countervailing duties on building materials was being discussed in an interagency process, but no decisions have been made yet.

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In response to European Union pressure, the U.S. is ready to discuss potentially tighter disciplines on counter-cyclical subsidy payments in the Doha round.

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September 09, 2005

The free trade agreement with five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic (DR-CAFTA) should be implemented as planned on Jan. 1, 2006 even if some of the parties have yet to ratify the deal, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman told reporters on Sept. 8.

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September 06, 2005

Canadian Trade Minister James Peterson in an interview with Inside U.S. Trade has refused to rule out that Canada would return to lumber negotiations with the United States even if it does not revoke 21 percent antidumping and countervailing duties on Canadian imports.

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September 02, 2005

The Nicaraguan government of President Enrique Bolanos is facing a major political crisis as a group of opponents is trying to take his power away by amongst other things impeaching Bolanos and restoring the freedom of former Nicaraguan president Arnoldo Aleman who has been imprisoned for fraud and money laundering, according to Nicaraguan Foreign Affairs Minister Norman Caldera.

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August 30, 2005

The legal twists and turns in the softwood lumber fight reflected in the U.S. victory at the World Trade Organization yesterday (Aug. 30) illustrate that only negotiations will ultimately solve the dispute between the U.S. and Canada, a U.S. trade official said today.

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August 29, 2005

A World Trade Organization panel has ruled in favor of the U.S. and its lumber producers, rejecting Canadian arguments that a 2004 finding by the U.S. International Trade Commission failed to bring the U.S. into compliance with an earlier panel decision, according to sources.

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August 17, 2005

Mexico will impose retaliatory tariffs on $20.9 million in three product categories effective Aug. 18 because the U.S. has failed to repeal the controversial Byrd law that distributes antidumping and countervailing duties to the petitioners of underlying trade cases, according to an announcement in the Diario Official.

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August 11, 2005

An Extraordinary Challenge Committee (ECC) this week ruled against the United States by finding that an earlier panel under the North American Free Trade Agreement was right to fault the International Trade Commission for deciding that U.S. lumber producers were threatened with injury by Canadian exports.

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August 05, 2005

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) this week said that the production of ethanol from sugar may be possible in “a few years” when there is not enough corn to use as an ethanol feed stock to the point of driving up the price of corn as animal feed. At that point, other products, including sugar, may be used for ethanol production, he said in an Aug. 2 press conference with Iowa farm broadcasters.

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July 28, 2005

The House late last night approved the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement by a vote of 217-215 with the support of 15 Democrats. The deciding vote was cast by Rep. Robyn Hayes (R-NC) who switched from no to yes.

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July 27, 2005

The House at 6:20pm local Washington time began a one-hour debate on the rule for a bill implementing a free trade agreement between the United States and Central American countries. A vote on the rule is expected shortly before 8 pm, and the two-hour debate on the CAFTA implementing bill is expected to start at around 9pm.

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