Washington Update

December 16th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

December 16, 2015
 
The United States, China, and more than 50 other countries concluded negotiations on Wednesday over a final deal on an expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA), according to a release from the US Trade Representative. The agreement will eliminate tariffs on 201 internationally-made IT products.  
 
Negotiations to expand the agreement were launched in mid-2012. Since that time, formal negotiations continued in starts-and-stops over the course of...

December 9th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

December 9, 2015

Key Members of the House and Senate have agreed to remove certain currency provisions from a Customs Reauthorization bill. Those measures would have required the US Department of Commerce to levy trade remedies on countries deemed to be undervaluing their currencies. House and Senate Members participating on a conference committee on the bill instead offered text aimed at enhancing monitoring and engagement efforts when countries are found to be manipulating their...

December 8th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

December 8, 2015

The United States today announced that it is challenging China’s support for its domestic aircraft manufacturers at the World Trade Organization (WTO). US Trade Representative Michael Froman said today the United States would seek consultations with China under the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism on China’s imposition of value-added taxes (VAT) on certain foreign aircraft. Consultations are the first step toward launching a formal dispute against another WTO member...

December 7th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

December 5, 2015

The House and Senate are moving forward with holding a conference committee next week on the Customs Reauthorization bill. The Senate version of the bill contains certain currency provisions – none of which are China-specific – and which may be removed in the final measure. Formal action on the bill has been dormant since July, though staff have reportedly been negotiating over text over that time period.

The House approved of a motion to proceed to conference...

July 20th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

July 20, 2015

A key issue holding up progress on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was resolved over the weekend, creating a path towards conclusion of the ITA negotiations, according to media reports. Negotiators from ITA member countries met in Geneva last week to seek resolution on a disagreement between South Korea and China regarding tariffs on liquid-crystal display (LCDs)—an issue that had held up ITA negotiations since December 2014. A...

April 24th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

Trade legislation made significant progress this week in Congress, but currency remains a key focus among many members. The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved two amendments related to currency as part of a package of bills to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). However, similar measures were not expected to be included in related bills under review in the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. Consideration by the full House and Senate is expected in the coming weeks....

April 10th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

The US Treasury Department in its latest exchange rate report did not cite China as a currency manipulator, but said that the renminbi (RMB) remains “significantly undervalued.” In its Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, Treasury said that China’s “real effective exchange rate appreciated by more than 10 percent in the past six months, the fastest pace since 2009.” However, Treasury noted that this appreciation does not go far enough, and that...

February 19th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

After the introduction of currency legislation in the House and Senate last week, it appears unlikely that the House will take up a standalone bill, though the issue may be included in Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) sought by President Obama to finalize Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been vocal in opposing the bill, calling it a “counterproductive tactic [that] would trigger higher tariffs on any...

February 10th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

Critics of China’s currency policies introduced legislation today in the House and Senate that would allow the imposition of tariffs on imports from countries considered to be currency manipulators. The House bill mirrors currency legislation that passed the House in 2010. The latest Senate bill takes a narrower approach, but still raises similar issues that the Senate’s 2011 currency bill created in regards to the United States’ World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance. The US-China...

January 22nd, 2015
Stephanie Henry

Trade Views of New Additions to Key Committees in the 114th Congress

Key House and Senate committees involved in implementing the US trade agenda are taking shape in the 114th Congress, and will play an important role in the work ahead. New members of Congress in the House gained posts on key committees having jurisdiction over trade and foreign affairs issues, while several new and returning Senators will take new posts on the Senate Foreign Relations and Finance Committees. USCBC...