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October 17, 2019

Business groups are welcoming the announcement of a new Brexit agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom on Thursday while continuing to warn against a no-deal outcome.

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The World Trade Organization facilitator charged with moving the discussion on Appellate Body reform forward on Tuesday proposed a draft General Council decision addressing “points of convergence” on U.S. criticisms, including its concerns with report deadlines, advisory opinions, precedent and overreach.

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October 16, 2019

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with members of the House Democrat working group in charge of ironing out differences in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement this week, with two key lawmakers saying the sides had made significant progress.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has yet to receive a letter on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement promised by Mexican President t Andrés Manuel López Obrador last week, Pelosi told Inside U.S. Trade on Wednesday.

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GENEVA -- World Trade Organization members face a crossroads in their debate over the beleaguered Appellate Body as a December deadline looms: Do they engage in the philosophical conversation about why the Appellate Body has strayed from WTO rules, which the U.S. has demanded all along, or do they continue a search for solutions to appease the U.S.?

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A new digital taxation proposal in Mexico’s 2020 budget plans could threaten U.S. investments in the country’s tech market, lead to double taxation and run afoul of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, according to a coalition of technology groups.

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October 15, 2019

The “phase one” deal with China that President Trump announced last week is not as comprehensive as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had hoped it would be, the senator said on Tuesday, adding that he wanted to hear more about the administration’s planned “next steps” in negotiations.

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USTR is pointing to a “consultation system” outlined in the text of the new U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement as a “starting point” for how the two parties can address disputes.

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October 11, 2019

The United States will not increase tariffs on China next week as part of a “phase one” deal that covers agricultural structural issues and purchases, intellectual property, forced technology transfer, currency and financial services, President Trump announced on Friday.

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The United States agreed to suspend plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 25 percent to 30 percent in exchange for commitments from China to step up purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and abide by new currency rules, sources tell Inside U.S. Trade.

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GENEVA -- The electronic commerce negotiations at the World Trade Organization have been robust and constructive since launching officially earlier this year, sources said here, but outcomes are not expected by the WTO’s June 2020 ministerial as members eventually must grapple with contentious issues and a decision on scope.

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The members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity continue to debate whether the forum's mandate, set to expire in December, should be renewed.

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GENEVA -- India, China, the African Group and other World Trade Organization members this week defended the “rights” of developing countries to special and differential treatment, likely setting up a confrontation with the U.S. at next week’s General Council meeting.

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An early harvest deal with China that allows the U.S. to retain “leverage” would “bank progress” and build momentum toward a more comprehensive deal to come, a former top adviser to President Trump said this week, suggesting more broadly that limited deals can work in cases where broader pacts are initially unattainable.

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October 10, 2019

This week’s talks between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators, due to wrap up in the White House on Friday, could lead to a deal in which the U.S. agrees not to increase tariffs in return for an agreement on currency provisions, as well as greater purchases of U.S. agricultural products, but the prospect of a comprehensive deal is no more certain despite 13 rounds of negotiations, according to business representatives, China analysts and trade lawyers.

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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has declined a House Energy and Commerce Committee invitation to testify next week about the trade implications of a provision in the Communications Decency Act that protects internet service providers and other companies that host third-party content, according to a committee spokesman.

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House Democrats and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are pushing to wrap up negotiations on outstanding U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement issues by the end of October, sources tell Inside U.S. Trade.

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October 09, 2019

GENEVA -- The December deadline that World Trade Organization members have set to reach an outcome in fisheries subsidies negotiations is not likely to be met, according to sources here who said it is expected to be pushed back to the next ministerial in June 2020.

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Wednesday proposed an outline of an international tax structure that would allow countries to tax companies that do not have a physical presence in those countries, a step toward an agreement that could supplant digital services taxes already in place or under consideration.

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Senior USTR officials briefed Capitol Hill staff last Thursday on the Trump administration’s trade enforcement initiatives, touching on World Trade Organization cases, Section 301 tariff exclusions for Chinese products and digital services taxes, among other issues, sources said.

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