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Daily News

April 29, 2021

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday in the secretary’s first virtual visit to Africa, as the two countries continue to review talks about a bilateral trade agreement that began during the Trump administration, acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Robert Godec said on Wednesday.

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The Biden administration is sending mixed signals on procurement policy as the European Union works to improve its ties with the U.S. and move from “problem” to “partner,” an EU trade official said on Tuesday.

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April 28, 2021

President Biden used his first speech to Congress on Wednesday to highlight his “American Jobs Plan” and tout a fundamental “Buy American” principle, and went off script to insist his government procurement plans won’t violate U.S. trade agreements.

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Disagreement within the U.S. solar industry over the benefit of duties on key imports exemplifies a larger concern over “our competition with China,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told a Senate panel on Wednesday.

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The standoff between the U.S. and Venezuela over the U.S. refusal to recognize the Maduro government will not derail another Dispute Settlement Body meeting at the World Trade Organization after the chair announced on Wednesday that Venezuela’s panel request would be removed from the agenda amid consultations with both parties.

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The Biden administration is working to cooperate with like-minded countries on export controls in new ways because traditional multilateral mechanisms are not broad enough to implement the types of restrictions on technology it seeks, government officials and industry representatives said this week.

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The U.S. has “a number of concerns” with how Mexico is handling its obligations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday.

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April 27, 2021

President Biden has not decided whether to support a proposed waiver of some World Trade Organization intellectual property rights rules as a part of a global pandemic response, nor has U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai made a recommendation to him, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

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The European Union’s push to green the bloc's agriculture sector will be guided by the World Trade Organization and other international standards, a European agriculture official said on Tuesday, speaking to U.S. concerns that the EU “Farm to Fork” strategy would negatively affect U.S. agriculture.

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President Biden has created a “made in America” office in the White House Office of Management and Budget and named Celeste Drake, a longtime labor advocate who spent several years with the AFL-CIO as a trade specialist, to lead it, the White House said on Tuesday.

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April 26, 2021

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke with the top executives of Pfizer and AstraZeneca on Monday about a proposed waiver of obligations to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property, where the ambassador expressed “deep sympathy” for the people of India, where COVID-19 deaths have reached alarming rates in recent days.

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World Trade Organization members can expect a first draft agricultural negotiating text in July, the chair of the agriculture negotiations said on Friday, urging members to identify the elements of a deal that could be reached at the upcoming ministerial conference.

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In a motion they say “should not have been necessary,” importers suing the Biden administration over the imposition of billions of dollars' worth of tariffs on Chinese goods asked the Court of International Trade last Friday to ensure that, if their litigation is successful, they can receive full refunds of unliquidated imports subject to duty payments.

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April 23, 2021

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and John Cornyn (R-TX) this week suggested a China-focused bill the Finance Committee is developing as part of a broader competitiveness package could include the renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences and a new Miscellaneous Tariff Bill.

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The U.S. must focus on building upstream capacity in critical minerals supply chains to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies, analysts said on Friday, contending that developing such capacity is a long-term endeavor fraught with sustainability concerns.

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The Biden administration is moving the right direction on the pandemic-related proposal to waive some intellectual property obligations at the World Trade Organization, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said on Friday, pointing to support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, among others.

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Senate Finance Committee members used a Thursday hearing on U.S.-China trade relations to offer suggestions for a bill the panel is developing as part of a competitiveness package Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to vote on soon, while others more broadly suggested issues with China they want addressed in some fashion.

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April 22, 2021

Despite six months of discussion, a proposal to waive a swath of intellectual property obligations at the World Trade Organization to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics access is no closer to approval, with developed members, including the U.S., continuing to question whether it would be effective and if IP rights are indeed barriers.

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House Ways & Means Republicans on Thursday urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to relaunch Environmental Goods Agreement negotiations at the World Trade Organization.

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President Biden’s “Climate Finance Plan,” unveiled on Thursday during the first day of the White House’s climate summit, includes commitments to boost funding for exports of environmentally beneficial goods.

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