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This Week In Trade

This week begins on an anxious note for U.S. cotton growers as they face down a bleak export forecast and a fresh rejection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for expanded subsidies. Meanwhile, President Obama and Italy’s president will discuss the U.S.-EU trade talks, the administration will release a new budget, and there’s talk of a settlement in the solar panel trade case between the U.S. and India.

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U.S. and Peruvian officials were slated to hold meetings in Washington early this week on the implementation of the environment chapter contained in the bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries, according to a Feb. 6 notice in the Peruvian official newspaper El Peruano.

President Obama stressed the importance of concluding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) after a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Monday (Feb. 8), offering a further sign of the administration's desire to wrap up the talks before Obama leaves office next year.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) this week publicly announced its support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the group is seeking clarifications from the administration on several aspects of the associated U.S.-Vietnam labor consistency plan before the agreement comes to a vote in Congress.

A European Commission analysis released this week projects that granting market economy status (MES) to China in antidumping (AD) cases without mitigating measures could directly cost as much as 188,300 jobs in affected European Union industries due to lower dumping duties, exacerbated unfair pricing and an overall increase in Chinese imports.

The Senate is aiming to vote on the conference report of the customs and enforcement bill by late next week, with a Senate aide saying the floor vote will probably take place on Thursday (Feb. 11).

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a televised debate on Thursday (Feb. 4) hinted that, if elected, she would seek changes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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World Trade Organization

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  • The release of the report by a World Trade Organization panel examining U.S. claims that India violated trade rules by imposing local content requirements in an massive solar project has been pushed back by one week to Feb. 5, according to a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

  • The U.S., Japan, and the European Union are charging that Argentina has failed to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling faulting the South American country for its non-automatic import licensing scheme, saying Buenos Aires has simply replaced that system with a very similar program.

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FTA Central

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  • U.S. Deputy Trade Representative Michael Punke and European Commission Director-General for Trade Jean-Luc Demarty met in Brussels on Thursday (Feb. 4) to prepare for the 12th negotiating round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to a commission spokesman.

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade ministers on Wednesday (Feb. 3) U.S.-time publicly laid out their domestic processes for ratifying the agreement, with those from Mexico and Australia saying they aim for legislative approval this year, but others such as U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman providing no specific timeline.