Key members of the Senate Finance Committee this week said the process for consulting with the administration on negotiating objectives for NAFTA -- and for notifying Congress by triggering a 90-day clock before official talks start -- likely will not move forward without a confirmed U.S. Trade Representative in office.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn and other USTR officials met with a key House trade advisory group March 21 to discuss negotiating objectives for NAFTA talks, but most members left the meeting still unsure when the administration intends to kick off negotiations with Canada and Mexico, and whether the future deal will be trilateral.
U.S. Steel's recent withdrawal of a section 337 trade secrets claim against Chinese manufacturer Baosteel has stirred vigorous discussion among trade lawyers about whether the current slate of trade-secret misappropriation tools is adequate for responding to, and deterring, economic espionage by state-controlled actors against private entities.
U.S. Trade Representative nominee Robert Lighthizer, in written responses to questions posed by senators, did not rule out the possibility of resuming negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, but noted that the European Union would not be in a position to do so until the end of the year because of federal elections in France and Germany.
Following his confirmation hearing last week, President Trump's pick for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer responded affirmatively to every request made by Senate Finance Committee members in their questions for the record to tackle what they see as unfair Chinese trade policies.
The United States and European Union at a March 21 meeting of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body slammed China for requesting a panel in its complaint over the EU's continuing treatment of China as a non-market economy in trade remedy cases.
A slew of industry groups has issued a fresh request to President Trump to immediately provide duty-free access to the U.S. for all eligible travel goods products in the Generalized System of Preferences from all GSP countries.
Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta faced questions at his March 22 confirmation hearing about whether the Trump administration's proposed cuts to the Labor Department's budget would affect the Trade Adjustment Assistance program -- something the nominee said "sounds like it is incredibly successful."
German industry and embassy representatives, just ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the White House last week, warned that the House GOP proposal for a border adjustment tax is a "significant concern" to Germany and said that despite claims made by some U.S. lawmakers the plan is not equivalent to a value-added tax system.
President Trump's U.S. Trade Representative nominee, Robert Lighthizer, believes a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement would build on commitments made by Canada and Mexico in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and could go beyond them in some key areas, he told the Senate Finance Committee in questions for the record following his confirmation hearing last week.
Four insurance groups this week voiced their support for a U.S.-European Union "covered agreement," while a fifth group and state regulators argued that the deal -- completed in the final days of the Obama administration -- is too vague and will not provide the desired benefits to the U.S., according to a series of letters sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
For the first time, aluminum groups from the U.S., Canada and the EU are urging G-20 leaders to address overcapacity in the industry through the creation of a global forum as a possible multilateral solution to the issue, pointing to the forum on steel excess capacity that resulted from last year's summit.
An investor-state dispute settlement panel this week did not rule on whether a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement's intellectual property chapter constitutes a compensable expropriation because the complainant, Eli Lilly, was unable to prove that Canada expropriated the company's IP.
President Trump said March 17 he hopes the U.S. and Germany can make their trade relationship more "even," telling reporters alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel that "Germany's done very well in its trade deals with the United States, and I give them credit for it."
Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez said his government's broad priorities for a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement are to maintain free trade and investment throughout North America, improve competitiveness in the NAFTA region, and modernize the agreement with new disciplines that were not needed when the deal was negotiated.
Upon the second request by India, a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel was established at a March 21 Dispute Settlement Body meeting to examine a complaint that U.S. state-level incentives for renewable energy programs contain domestic content requirements in violation of WTO rules.
The Department of Commerce wants public input on "the use of American-made materials" in any new and expanded U.S. pipelines as it assesses the domestic supply chain and other logistical issues related to the construction of pipe, according to a March 16 statement.