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Daily News

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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April 11, 2005

Chief U.S. Agriculture Negotiator Allen Johnson today (April 11) said the Bush Administration took extraordinary steps to protect the U.S. sugar program when it negotiated a free trade agreement with five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic.

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March 21, 2005

World Trade Organization members made progress but failed to meet their deadline last week for agreeing on technical work necessary to begin negotiations on a formula for reducing tariffs on agriculture products, according to delegation sources.

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March 19, 2005

Following a March 18 phone call between Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and European Commissioner Peter Mandelson, a U.S. official accused the European Union of “backsliding” on the terms of a January framework for negotiating an end to subsidies for large civil aircraft..

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March 02, 2005

World Trade Organization members late last week failed to reach an agreement on technical work necessary to begin serious negotiations on a formula for reducing agricultural tariffs, and are unlikely to resolve the issue at this week’s meeting of 25 to 30 trade ministers in Kenya, according to Geneva sources.

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February 25, 2005

The Canadian federal government and lumber industry next week will file a challenge against the so-called Byrd law as a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the U.S. Court of International Trade, according to John Allan, president of the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council.

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February 23, 2005

European Director General for Trade Peter Carl is scheduled to meet with acting U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier tomorrow (Feb. 24) to discuss how the two sides can settle their dispute over subsidies for large civil aircraft, according to government sources.

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February 18, 2005

The White House is likely to name a replacement for outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick on an acting basis early next week, when he starts his new job as the Deputy Secretary of State, according to an informed source.

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The White House late today (Feb. 18) announced that Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier will be the acting USTR after Robert Zoellick leaves for the State Department.

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February 17, 2005

The Senate late last night (Feb. 16) confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick as the Deputy Secretary of State, and he is expected to leave his USTR slot very soon, according to informed sources.

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February 14, 2005

The chairman of World Trade Organization talks on agriculture late last week warned WTO members that technical work necessary to complete a formula for reducing tariffs has become a major obstacle and is now threatening to seriously delay the negotiations, a Geneva source said.

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February 11, 2005

European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson in his first visit to the U.S. appeared to raise doubts about whether a proposal floated by outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick for unlocking World Trade Organization negotiations on a formula for reducing tariffs would deliver enough ambition in the Doha round of trade talks.

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February 08, 2005

The focus of this week’s meeting between European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick will likely be on bilateral disputes, including the fight over subsidies paid to Boeing and Airbus for the production of large civil aircraft, according to a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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February 07, 2005

The Bush Administration today (Feb. 7) unveiled a budget request for fiscal year 2006 that would slash subsidy payments to all farmers by 5 percent while reducing the limit on the total annual amount of subsidies a single farmer may receive to $250,000.

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