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Daily News

May 17, 2004

GENEVA -- The election of a new government in India, a key member of the G20 developing country group, has emerged as a potential stumbling block that could prevent the G20 and members of the Cairns Group from finalizing a new proposal on the key issue in multilateral farm talks of how to reduce agricultural tariffs by their self-imposed deadline of the next meeting of the World Trade Organization’s negotiating group on agriculture, Brazil’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization acknowledged today (May 17).

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May 14, 2004

PARIS -- Brazil and other developing countries in the G20 will work over the next 10 to 15 days with members of the Cairns group on an agricultural market access proposal with the goal of presenting it at the next meeting of the World Trade Organization’s negotiating group on agriculture, several trade ministers announced after an informal meeting of 29 trade ministers in Paris today (May 14). Their goal is to draft a proposal by the beginning of the next round of agriculture talks in Geneva, which begin June 2, sources said.

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PARIS --U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick today (May 14) reassured trade ministers attending an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ministerial that a new U.S. farm bill going into effect in about two years will reflect whatever disciplines World Trade Organization members negotiate on domestic subsidies and export credits. He noted that the heavily criticized 2002 farm bill that expanded U.S. subsidies expires in 2006.

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PARIS -- World Trade Organization Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi told trade ministers representing members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development today that a framework setting the terms for future Doha Round negotiations does not need to be as detailed as the texts that ministers unsuccessfully tried to complete in Cancun last year.

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May 13, 2004

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and trade ministers from five Central American countries on May 28 will sign a bilateral free-trade agreement at the Organization for American States in Washington, USTR announced on May 13 (wto2004_2740). The signing will be within a week of the earliest date that the agreement could have been signed under U.S. trade law and will be done in the presence of a representatives from the Dominican Republic, USTR said.

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May 12, 2004

House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) has decided to write a new tax bill that will repeal the foreign sales corporation provision and its successor regime in light of the Senate’s passage this week of a different version of the bill. Thomas kicked off discussions with Republican committee members on what should be included in the new version of the bill on May 12, one day after the Senate approved its own version of the FSC repeal bill.

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May 11, 2004

The Senate overwhelmingly passed by a 90 to 8 vote today (May 11) a motion to invoke cloture on a bill repealing the foreign sales corporation and its successor regime, the Extraterritorial Income Act.

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After weeks of partisan fighting, the Senate is poised to conclude its work today (May 11) on a bill to repeal the foreign sales corporation tax system and its successor regime after a successful vote to limit debate. The successful vote on invoking cloture was the result of an agreement by Republican and Democratic leaders that they would allow a vote on a measure sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to extend unemployment insurance benefits once the Senate had voted to limit debate.

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May 10, 2004

Days before a key gathering of trade ministers in Paris, the European Union on May 9 signaled its willingness to agree to the full elimination of agricultural export subsidies, provided that the U.S. and other World Trade Organization members discipline their export competition programs and the EU is satisfied with the outcome of talks on domestic support and market access for farm products.

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May 07, 2004

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) today invoked cloture on a bill to repeal the foreign sales corporation tax system and its successor regime in an effort to conclude debate on the bill that was held up this week by partisan fighting over Democratic amendments.

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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick today (May 7) challenged the G20 and other critics of a U.S. approach for cutting agricultural tariffs to help break a deadlock in the agriculture negotiations of the Doha Round by suggesting new ideas on market access.

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May 04, 2004

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) today (May 4) expressed confidence the Senate would complete work this week on a bill repealing the Foreign Sales Corporation and its successor regime, the Extraterritorial Income Act. He said that GOP leaders have agreed to allow votes on three controversial amendments backed by Democrats, two on the FSC-ETI repeal bill and one on a separate measure to be considered later this month.

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) today (May 4) said he remains upset over the Bush Administration’s decision to exclude sugar from the U.S.-Australian free trade agreement, and wants assurances that products will not be excluded from future FTAs before he moves forward with legislation implementing the Australia deal.

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April 28, 2004

New York-- In an effort to inject fresh momentum into the deadlocked negotiations on the Free Trade Area of the Americas, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim have instructed officials from both sides to work out a compromise on the extent to which the common set of trade obligations in the agreement should focus on market access and new trade rules.

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April 26, 2004

An interim World Trade Organization ruling issued today handed Brazil a victory today (April 26) on the key elements of a challenge it brought against U.S. cotton subsidies, according to informed sources.

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April 07, 2004

The Senate this afternoon for a second time failed to invoke cloture to limit debate on a bill repealing the foreign sales corporation tax system and its successor regime, even though Republicans reached out to Democrats for their support by offering to allow a vote on a controversial amendment offered by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) that contributed to the failure of the previous cloture vote. Today’s cloture vote failed 49-48, falling 11 votes short of the 60 necessary to invoke cloture.

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April 06, 2004

An interim World Trade Organization panel decision on Brazil’s challenge of U.S. cotton subsidies expected on April 8 has been delayed, and the panel has notified parties that it would make its decision by April 26, according to informed sources. The panel is expected to be the first one to interpret the commitments that countries took on in the Uruguay Round in terms of limiting their trade-distorting subsidies, including the meaning of the so-called peace clause.

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March 29, 2004

March 26, 2004

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick acknowledged on March 25 that the trademark law known as Section 211 could either be amended or repealed in order to bring the U.S. into compliance with a World Trade Organization ruling against the law. However, he told a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary that he favored simply amending the law, since the WTO only ruled narrowly against the measure in 2002.

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Market access has emerged as the most difficult issue to resolve following the conclusion of the fist week of World Trade Organization agriculture talks since last year’s failed Cancun ministerial, the chair of those talks reported today (March 26).

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