Issue 82 | March 31, 2017
White House preps formal NAFTA notice 
 
The Trump administration has drafted its notification to Congress saying it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which indicates that the White House is preparing for talks with Canada and Mexico. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed a sense of urgency in sending a formal notice. Ross indicated that at the top of the President's trade-related priorities are provisions relating to procurement and transportation issues. Another topic that the administration may focus on in the NAFTA rewrite is a controversial trucking program that allows Mexican trucks to roll through the United States. Read more.
 
Wary of Trump, China launches EU charm offensive: diplomats 
 
President Trump's negative stance on issues China is invested in, such as trade and combating climate change, has caused China to grow closer to the European Union. The clearest sign of this shift is in China's decision to drop the public campaign to have the EU recognize its economy as one directed by the market, not the state. Instead, China is focusing on closer cooperation with the EU on a range of issues and opening up a number of market sectors while ensuring China's fair treatment overseas. Read more.
 
New budget proposal provides trade enforcement clue
 
The Trump administration has expressed a desire to remove the grant program in the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs to refocus the agency on enforcing labor provisions in trade agreements. The administration is asking to cut $18 billion from discretionary spending for the current fiscal year. The Department is responsible for investigating alleged violations of labor rules in trade deals and is currently involved in a dispute with Guatemala under the rules of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Read more.
 
India offering "far deeper" proposals in RCEP: Rita Teaotia
 
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECEP) is a trade agreement negotiated among 16 countries including India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In its effort to pitch for the liberalization of trade in services, India's Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the country will give more concessions in RECEP than any other country. This trade deal aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights. Read more.
 
JEFTA: The TTIP-style trade deal you've never heard of - and why it matters 
 
The Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) is a proposed deal between the EU and Japan. This deal has been kept a relative secret until recently when a few leaks of the negotiating documents began to appear and some detailed documents have now been posted on the EU's official JEFTA site. These documents reveal JEFTA will include an investor-state dispute settlement, which will allow corporations to protect their profits or threats from government actions. Labor rights in JEFTA appear to be fairly weak with no commitment to ratify remaining conventions from the International Labor Organization that both parties have not already ratified. This deal has the potential to affect industries such as automotive, rail engineering and high-tech companies across the EU and Japan. Read more
 
Brexit begins: UK triggers Article 50 to begin EU divorce
 
British Prime Minister Theresa May has signed the official notice to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that begins the legal process separating Britain from the EU in two years' time. May's letter indicated that she wanted to avoid walking away with no deal from the EU, and proposed several principles to guiding negotiations. Among these principles was the hope that the UK would avoid cliff-edge separation to ensure certainty for businesses and to repeal EU laws and automatically adopt them into UK law for review. Read more.
 
Compiled by Global Initiatives Coordinator Michelle Dong.

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