Issue 87 | Aug. 18, 2017
USTR seeks comments on NAFTA negotiating objectives
 
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a request for comments from the public on matters regarding the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to inform the development of U.S. negotiating positions. These comments can be submitted online (www.regulations.gov), or by oral testimony at a public hearing on June 27. The USTR is interested in a range of comments, from relevant digital trade issues to relevant barriers to trade in services between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Read more.
 
The Most Over-Hyped U.S. Trade Deal Is About to Get a Makeover
 
Last year, the U.S. International Trade Commission concluded NAFTA substantially expanded trade volumes in all three countries, but led to only a small boost in U.S. employment. Although some industries have benefited from the deal, some sources argue NAFTA had major negative effects on U.S. employment, especially jobs located in the Rust Belt states. Those states are anxious for the start of official renegotiation-the first round of which will kick off with Mexico and Canada through Aug. 20. The question is whether Trump can help blue-collar workers without sacrificing the broad gains from trade. Read more.
 
Canada's 10 NAFTA demands: A list of what Canada wants as talks start this week
 
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland released Canada's list of key demands Monday for a new NAFTA as talks get set to begin in Washington later this week. The list, which is much shorter than the U.S. wish list of more than 100 items, includes new chapters on labor and environment standards, gender and Indigenous rights, and reforms to the investor-state dispute settlement process. Canada's list of demands includes expanding procurement by reviewing local-content provisions rules for major government contracts; expanding the list of professionals eligible for freer movement; protecting Canada's supply-management system for dairy and poultry; protecting the old agreement for cultural industries, like publishing and broadcasting; and maintaining a process to regulate anti-dumping and countervailing disputes, like the one over softwood lumber. Read more.
 
Trump Orders an Investigation Into China's Intellectual Property Practices
 
China's policy of forcing foreign companies to turn over technology to Chinese joint venture partners and failure to crack down on intellectual property theft have been longstanding problems for several U.S. administrations. Trump administration officials have estimated that theft of intellectual property by China could be as high as $600 billion. President Donald Trump on Monday authorized an inquiry into China's alleged theft of intellectual property. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will have a year to look into whether to launch a formal investigation, which the White House and U.S. industry lobby groups say are harming U.S. businesses and jobs. China repeatedly rebuffed attempts by previous U.S. administrations to take action on its IP practices. Experts and analysts on China trade policy believe that China is not interested in a short-term trade fix with the U.S. and will once again resist. Read more.
 
U.K. Government Open to Temporary Customs Union with EU After Brexit
 
The U.K.'s department for exiting the EU will release two long-term options for post-Brexit customs arrangements aimed at making trade in goods as "frictionless" as possible after the U.K. formally withdraws in early 2019. The first option calls for a highly streamlined customs arrangement aimed at simplifying border checks while the second proposes a "customs partnership" that would eliminate the need for a customs border. In the meantime there are discussions of a potential interim customs union between the U.K. and the EU. Read more
 
Exports of U.S. feed grains setting records
 
Exports of U.S. feed grains are up 20 percent year over year from September 2016 through June 2017 according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). U.S. ethanol exports have set a new record of 1.15 billion gallons in exports this marketing year. Exports of ethanol significantly increased in Brazil, Canada and India. Exports of U.S. corn has also increased 36 percent, exceeding export totals for the last five marketing years. Japan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and South Korea are some of the countries where exports have increased drastically. There has also been a recent increase in demand in U.S. dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) as a result of price and efforts. Turkey ranks the second largest market for U.S. DDGS doubling over the year. In contrast, other products such as U.S. barley and sorghum are down. Read more.
 
An Update on California's Trade Agenda
Aug. 25, 2017
 
Join the Global Initiatives Council to receive an update from newly appointed Deputy Director of International Trade, Awinash Bawle, regarding the Governor's Trade Agenda. RSVP Here.

Compiled by Center for Global Trade & Foreign Investment Intern Juliana Dagnese.

For more information, contact Jasmin Sakai-Gonzalez, 213.580.7569.