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Inside U.S. Trade - November 27, 2015

Japanese Official Holds Door Open To TPP Fixes Without Renegotiation

A Japanese embassy official last week held open the possibility that Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries could find some creative way to address objections by U.S. lawmakers to certain provisions of the agreement in a way that does not change the text itself, although he ruled out a full-fledged renegotiation of the deal.

TPP Procurement Chapter Shields Malaysia's 'Bumiputera' Preferences

Levin Backs Away From CVD Currency In Customs Bill, Floats New Approach

JCCT Fails To Yield ITA Progress, But U.S. Industry Likely To Acquiesce

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U.S. trade officials this week are expected to press South Korea for details on how it will proceed with a planned revamp of its regulations governing trace amounts of pesticides in agricultural products that could potentially have a major impact on a wide range of U.S. farm exports to the free trade agreement partner.

The White House is making a renewed push to unblock a long-delayed customs bill, which contains enforcement measures that it promised to members of Congress in an effort to shore up their support for the fast-track bill that passed in June.

In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Canada has increased the level of government procurement open to U.S. companies compared to the revised Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) by expanding its coverage of central government entities, federally owned "Crown corporations," and services sectors.

Trade officials negotiating the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) over the past two months have removed nearly 300 products from serious consideration to be covered by the deal in hopes of presenting and agreeing upon a draft final list of goods at the Dec. 15-18 WTO Nairobi Ministerial, according to Geneva sources.

The Chilean government is claiming victory on at least three controversial issues in the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for which it says it will not need to change its current law to comply with the agreement's obligations.

The just-concluded Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting resulted in Chinese pledges to refrain from discriminating against foreign companies through information and communications technology (ICT) regulations focused on security as well as a commitment for better protection of trade secrets amid an outcome that otherwise offers little more than promises of further discussing bilateral trade promises.

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  • Russia is calling for World Trade Organization members to develop by June 2016 a General Council decision that would clarify the scope of the national security exceptions included in various WTO agreements, which has emerged as an issue after Russia and Western countries last year imposed sanctions on each other as a result of the Ukraine conflict.

  • Several World Trade Organization members this week put forward a proposal for an outcome on agricultural export competition for the ministerial next month in Nairobi that includes new flexibilities aimed at appeasing the demands of the United States.

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FTA Central

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  • The International Trade Commission (ITC) on Nov. 17 predicted that its report on the economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will not be ready until May 18, effectively pushing congressional consideration of a TPP implementing bill past that date.

  • The U.S. government official leading talks with the European Union on testing of hormone-disrupting chemicals has said those discussions are separate from the ongoing trans-Atlantic trade negotiations and that a bilateral "workshop" last month in Brussels did not wade into the EU policy debate on how to regulate such substances.