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Daily News

May 05, 2021

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai next week will appear before the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing on the Biden administration’s 2021 trade agenda.

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The U.S. will support a proposed waiver of World Trade Organization intellectual property obligations for COVID-19 vaccines and “actively participate” in text-based negotiations in Geneva, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced on Wednesday, arguing the global emergency “calls for extraordinary measures.”

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May 04, 2021

More than 100 House Democrats have thrown their weight behind a proposed World Trade Organization waiver of certain intellectual property obligations for COVID-19 vaccines and medicines, with half the caucus entreating the Biden administration to support the waiver as a moral, economic and public health priority.

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is looking for a new assistant USTR for labor following the retirement of Lewis Karesh, who spent nearly 16 years in the role.

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The Commerce Department is banking on a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer to prioritize supplying the struggling U.S. auto industry, Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday, describing the strategy as a short-term solution to shortages she said are putting “so many American jobs on the line.”

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The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement “is a starting point” for further regional work on climate, labor and expanding trade benefits to underserved communities, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Tuesday.

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Angela Ellard, chief trade counsel for House Ways & Means Committee Republicans, will be a World Trade Organization deputy director-general, her new boss, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, announced on Tuesday. 

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative should avoid imposing tariffs on countries with digital service taxes in place and instead continue to pursue an agreement at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, industry representatives told government officials on Monday.  

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May 03, 2021

The leaders of the World Trade Organization’s informal working group on trade and gender on Friday said they intend to start work on a joint ministerial statement that includes concrete actions members can take to address women’s economic empowerment with the hopes of finalizing language for adoption by the next WTO ministerial in November.

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Seeking a more “interactive” meeting with World Trade Organization heads of delegations, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday urged members to speak their mind -- off-script, as possible -- with an eye toward narrowing the focus on outcomes the WTO can deliver at the upcoming ministerial conference.

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The AFL-CIO this month will release details on its U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement complaints against companies in Mexico, an official with the union federation told Inside U.S. Trade on Monday.

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Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are joining Senate Finance Committee member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in pushing for the establishment of an inspector general in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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A range of industry groups are urging the Commerce Department to pause its implementation of a rule that allows it to block information and communications technology and services transactions involving entities from a so-called “foreign adversary” at least until the department implements a voluntary pre-clearance process.

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April 30, 2021

Countries must commit to forgoing unilateral digital services taxes as part of negotiations for a new global tax framework, stakeholders said on Thursday, following remarks last week by an EU official who said the EU’s proposed digital tax would not conflict with the new system.

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Co-sponsors at the World Trade Organization of a proposed waiver of certain intellectual property commitments said on Friday they would review, and potentially revise, the language with an eye to finding common ground, even as the U.S. remains skeptical of the waiver’s likelihood of delivering more vaccine production.

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The widespread sale of counterfeit goods in China’s e-commerce markets, the largest in the world, has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic’s acceleration of online shopping, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday in its annual review of trading partners’ intellectual property practices.

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Securing U.S. critical mineral supply chains in a manner consistent with the Biden administration’s broader environmental agenda will require government support for research and sustainable practices, researchers say.

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April 29, 2021

The U.S. and European Union will have to discuss the contours of a carbon border adjustment mechanism both bilaterally and multilaterally at the World Trade Organization, former WTO Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff said on Thursday, arguing a clash over climate-related trade measures is coming in Geneva unless members begin “focused and constructive discussions” on how to ensure WTO rules are not an impediment to climate ambitions.

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Group of Seven digital and technology ministers on Wednesday established a roadmap for facilitating data “free flows,” identifying four areas in which the countries said they could cooperate.

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As chair of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, New Zealand will be pushing involved countries for a “commitment” to reduce fossil fuel subsidies as a part of a focus on environmental sustainability, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this week.

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