Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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U.S. Expands Russia Sanctions To Clamp Down On Energy Tech Exports

The United States yesterday (July 29) expanded its sanctions against Moscow over its incursion into Ukraine by tightening restrictions on exports of energy-related technologies to Russia, suspending export credit financing for industrial and agricultural goods, and targeting new Russian companies and financial institutions.

Azevedo Engages With Members On Potential Food Security Compromise

As World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo is engaged in a last-ditch effort to try and broker a compromise among WTO members by July 31 to resolve India's objection to the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), one proposal gaining traction is to establish regular meetings within the WTO to work towards a permanent solution on India's priority issue of food security, according to Geneva sources.

Ford Seeks To Freeze Tariff Phaseout Under TPP If Japan Imposes New Barriers

The Ford Motor Company has urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to include provisions in a bilateral auto trade deal with Japan under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would allow the U.S. to "stop the clock" on phasing out its auto tariffs if Japan moves to impose new non-tariff measures that restrict U.S. auto exports, according to a Ford executive.

Froman Signals Interest In 'Reciprocal' Trade Arrangement With S. Africa

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today (July 29) said the United States wants to hold talks with South Africa about how to move toward a more reciprocal trading arrangement, in a sign that the U.S may want to graduate South Africa from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in pursuit of a free trade deal with that country instead.

Mexico Truck Program Critics Question Whether Data Is Statistically Valid

Opponents of the Department of Transportation's (DOT) cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico yesterday (July 28) questioned whether the program has collected enough data from Mexican carriers over roughly three years to constitute the statistically valid sample that is required under U.S. law before DOT could move toward a permanent resolution of the longstanding bilateral trade dispute over trucking.

AFL-CIO Seeks To Refine Punishments For AGOA Violators, Other Reforms

The AFL-CIO wants a renewed African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to enable the United States to take incremental, targeted measures against countries which violate the program's eligibility criteria to avoid disproportionately punishing African exporters and their workers through a total revocation of benefits.

Commerce Levels Preliminary AD Duties Against China, Taiwan In Next Stage Of Solar Fight

The Commerce Department today (July 25) issued an affirmative preliminary determination in its antidumping (AD) probe into Chinese and Taiwanese imports of solar energy products, triggering a 15-day countdown for respondent companies to request talks on a possible suspension agreement.

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  • Bipartisan Draft Letter Urges Repeal Of 2013 COOL Rule In Event Of U.S. WTO Loss

    Republicans and Democrats in the House are set to call on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to roll back a country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulation for meat products if a World Trade Organization panel rules against the U.S. in a compliance dispute lodged by Canada and Mexico.

  • De Gucht Puts Onus On India, South Africa To Drop Opposition On TFA

    European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht publicly called out India and South Africa on July 22 for blocking the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and said it is up to these two countries to change their positions ahead of a key July 31 deadline for adopting a protocol of amendment that will enshrine the deal in the legal framework of the World Trade Organization.

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  • DOT Agency To Present Data From Mexico Truck Pilot Program On July 28

    A Department of Transportation (DOT) agency official next week is slated to present data the agency has collected through the Mexico Cross-Border Trucking Pilot Program at a subcommittee meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, ahead of the program's October expiration, according an agenda of the meeting.

  • China Tire Probe Moves Ahead As Commerce Finds USW Has Standing

    The U.S. Commerce Department last week decided to move ahead with antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations into imports of Chinese passenger vehicle and light truck tires, after a 20-day delay during which the department established the United Steelworkers (USW) union had standing to bring the case.

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  • Leaked EU TTIP Draft On SPS Includes Rules On Equivalency, Animal Welfare

    The European Commission has proposed including binding new rules on how the U.S. and EU should go about determining the equivalency of their respective food safety regimes as well as obligations to cooperate to improve animal welfare as part of a proposal for a sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) chapter in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to a newly leaked draft text.

  • Nunes, Rangel Plan Letter To Obama Urging Improved Japan TPP Offer

    The chairman and ranking member of the House Ways & Means trade subcommittee and three other House members are gathering support for a bipartisan letter to President Obama that calls for Japan to improve its market access offer in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but stops short of explicitly demanding that Japan eliminate all tariffs under the deal.

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Short Takes

07/29/2014

Nunes Sees AGOA Renewal Moving As Part Of Larger Trade Package

House Ways & Means trade subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said today (July 29) that future legislation to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act . . .

07/29/2014

Senior Foreign Ag Service Official Moves Into Spot Vacated By Vetter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has tapped Bryce Quick, associate administrator and chief operating officer of the department's Foreign Agricultural Service, to fill the . . .

07/24/2014

Civil Society Groups Warn Against Using TTIP To Increase Fossil Fuel Exports

Thirty-six civil society groups today (July 24) urged U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to oppose including a separate chapter on energy in the Transatlantic Trade . . .

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Froman Says TPP Countries Have Narrowed IP Differences To A 'Dozen' Issues

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman this week said Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have narrowed their differences in the intellectual property (IP) chapter to a "dozen" outstanding issues from over 100 at the August 2013 round of talks in Brunei, though he emphasized that IP remains one of the most difficult topics in the negotiations.

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