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Daily News

February 24, 2021

Katherine Tai, President Biden’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative, will outline the administration’s short- and long-term priorities to the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, focusing first on how trade can aid in pandemic recovery efforts, according to an opening statement for her confirmation hearing.

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Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in a White House meeting on Wednesday offered their full support for moving forward with funding incentives for semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.

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The Biden administration will follow a supply chain review of critical goods with actions that could include directing procurement policy to stockpile certain items, working with allies to secure access to goods and consulting with stakeholders and Congress to addresses vulnerabilities in the U.S. supply chain, White House officials said Wednesday.

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The U.S. will aim to “protect America’s tax revenues” in negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, President Biden’s pick for deputy Treasury secretary said on Tuesday, potentially complicating talks with other countries that want U.S.-based companies to pay taxes in other jurisdictions.

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President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday pledged to leverage the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s small and medium-sized enterprise chapter and bolster supply chain security to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and build a stronger partnership.

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February 23, 2021

While World Trade Organization members remain deadlocked over the question of whether to waive some intellectual property obligations in response to the pandemic, they largely share a common sense that countries must explore how intellectual property flexibilities can be part of a pandemic response framework, according to a Geneva-based trade official familiar with the discussions.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has told Democratic committee leaders to begin drafting a legislative package designed to fortify the U.S. semiconductor industry and other high-tech sectors facing steep competition with China, with the goal of bringing a bill to the Senate floor this spring, he said on Tuesday.

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The coronavirus pandemic has led to a rise in the sale of counterfeit goods on the internet, sparking concern among businesses and setting up the U.S. International Trade Commission for an increasingly pivotal role, trade analysts tell Inside U.S. Trade.

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Proposed Mexican legislation that would require operating licenses for social media platforms and regulate content moderation practices could violate U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement rules on non-discrimination, intermediary liability and cross-border data flows, according to industry sources.

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February 22, 2021

The push by many countries -- including the U.S. -- to conclude plurilateral agreements at the World Trade Organization is “legally inconsistent” with WTO rules and principles, India and South Africa argued in a new paper, insisting there is a “fundamental requirement for multilateralism” in Geneva.

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The Biden administration on Monday showed it would not yet forfeit the World Trade Organization dispute settlement system leverage it inherited from the Trump administration, continuing a U.S. block on the restart of appointments to the Appellate Body over what it called “systemic concerns.”

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week will question Katherine Tai, President Biden’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative, about the connection between trade policies and the middle class and the importance of opening markets for U.S. exports.

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February 19, 2021

Significant divides among World Trade Organization members remain in the negotiations to curb harmful fisheries subsidies, but negotiators have what they need to conclude a deal, the chair of the talks said on Friday – even as members remained unable to break any of the deadlocks in key areas like special and differential treatment.

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Economic challenges presented by China will be countered most effectively if the U.S. and its allies in Europe and Asia work together, President Biden said in his first major international address since inauguration, delivered at this year’s Munich Security Conference.

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The U.S. International Trade Commission has had to extend deadlines in some intellectual property infringement cases because of resource and workload constraints, not because companies are abusing the process, according to ITC Chairman Jason Kearns.

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The Biden administration will prioritize the semiconductor sector in a review of critical U.S. supply chains it is expected to announce any day, a move welcomed by the industry but unlikely to help alleviate the chip shortage roiling it and hurting other sectors, sources tell Inside U.S. Trade.

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February 18, 2021

The U.S. had some “valid” concerns about the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body, the European Union acknowledged this week in a new trade strategy, moving closer to the U.S. – at least officially – on dispute settlement issues as well as other WTO reform priorities like special and differential treatment.

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The Commerce Department has released an analysis of the costs businesses could face in trying to comply with a controversial supply chain interim final rule for the information and communications technology sector, providing wide-ranging estimates depending on different business considerations.

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Katherine Tai, President Biden’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative, will testify before the Senate Finance Committee next Thursday, the panel said this week.

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President Biden should adopt a “strategy for post-Brexit Britain” that includes a free trade agreement between the two countries, former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick argued on Wednesday. 

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