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Daily News

January 23, 2004

U.S. and Costa Rican negotiators working to conclude free trade agreement negotiations today (Jan. 23) are bogged down on Costa Rican market access demands on textiles and agricultural goods, but Costa Rican sources said they were confident the negotiations could still be concluded later tonight.

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January 21, 2004

The Bush Administration has decided against offering Australia additional market access for sugar in negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, a position that contrasts how the Administration has proposed handling other import sensitive commodities in talks with that country.

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January 16, 2004

The Bush Administration has asked interested parties for input that will help inform a report that the new Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba will complete for the president by May. The Commission was established on Bush’s suggestion in an Oct. 10 speech, and is charged with making recommendations on what measures the U.S. could take to “help the Cuban people to bring about an expeditious end of the [Castro

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January 14, 2004

Informed sources said last week that Pernod Ricard, a French company that has opposed the controversial U.S. trademark law known as Section 211, recommended to the European Union that the U.S. be given another year to implement a World Trade Organization decision that found the law to violate WTO rules. These sources said EU officials were more in favor of not extending the U.S. compliance deadline past Dec. 31, 2003, but that Pernod Ricard asked for an extension in order to give the U.S. more time to consider legislation that would repeal the law altogether.

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January 09, 2004

Switzerland has offered to host a World Trade Organization mini-ministerial in conjunction with this month’s World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, a European Commission spokesman said today (Jan. 9).

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December 24, 2003

When free trade agreement negotiations between the U.S. and Costa Rica reconvene in January, Costa Rica will be looking to the U.S. for improved market access offers on textile and agricultural products otherwise it will be difficult for Costa Rica to open up its telecommunications and insurance markets, Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Trade Alberto Trejos told Inside U.S. Trade this week.

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative faces a crowded agenda next year as it will attempt to seek Congressional approval for the free-trade agreements that it has negotiated, open negotiations with eight other countries on bilateral pacts and continue efforts to advance the currently stalled Doha round of World Trade Organization talks, according to a senior trade official.

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The U.S. and the European Commission have formally notified the World Trade Organization that they have agreed to extend for one year the implementation deadline to section 211, a U.S. trademark law, according to a U.S. trade official.

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The U.S. has rescheduled a negotiating session for a free-trade agreement with the Southern African Customs Union for February next year after canceling a December meeting, according to a USTR spokesman.

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December 16, 2003

The U.S. and five Central American countries will likely miss their Dec. 16 deadline for concluding negotiations on a free trade agreement following a decision by Costa Rican negotiators that they could not finalize negotiations in a number of key areas. The U.S. and Costa Rica are expected to meet again in January to complete negotiations.

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December 15, 2003

December 11, 2003

Trade ministers from the U.S. and Central America are today (Dec. 11) expected to intervene in what is scheduled to be the last round of negotiations on a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and five Central American countries that are set to conclude by Dec 16.

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December 09, 2003

Member states of the European Union failed yesterday to approve a genetically modified sweet corn for import to the EU after splitting in a 6-6 vote with three abstentions, according to a European Commission spokesperson.

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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

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