Washington Update

October 16th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

October 16, 2014 - The US Treasury Department on Wednesday said China’s currency remains “significantly undervalued,” but did not label it a currency manipulator in its Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies. Instead, Treasury observed “some renewed willingness” by Chinese regulators to allow RMB appreciation and reduce intervention, following China’s commitment to do so at the July 2014 Strategic & Economic Dialogue. Treasury has not labelled...

October 1st, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Erin Ennis, vice president of the US-China Business Council (USCBC), testified today before the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee on a wide range of issues, including competition enforcement, regulatory transparency, intellectual property rights (IPR), and China’s broader compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments.

In her testimony, Ennis said China remains a valuable market for US companies, but one that could be more valuable if market barriers and...

September 19th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Key Trade Nominees Approved by Senate

The Senate approved Robert Holleyman as Deputy US Trade Representative and Nathan Sheets as Under Secretary for International Affairs at the US Treasury Department yesterday. The approvals fill the remaining deputy-level positions overseeing US commercial relations with China in the Obama administration’s second term.

Holleyman replaces Demetrios Marantis, who left the post in May 2013. Holleyman is expected to cover a portfolio...

July 18th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

House committee talks China in hearing on WTO
 
China needs to make an “appropriate contribution” to negotiations on the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), according to Deputy US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Punke at a hearing of the US House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee on Wednesday. Punke told the subcommittee he’s hopeful that discussions will move forward before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials’ meeting in November, and said...

June 24th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Assistant Secretary of State tells Senate US priorities for upcoming dialogue
 
A “new model” of US-China relations should not be"defined by strategic rivalry, but by fair and healthy competition…practical cooperation on priority issues, and by constructive management of our differences and disagreements,” Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel said yesterday at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The hearing focused on regional...

May 28th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The United States announced on Friday it had won a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute against China over its imposition of duties on US auto exports. In bringing the case, the United States charged that China relied on limited and poorly-examined evidence, and did not adequately show that Chinese industry was harmed by US imports.

The case centered on China’s application of duties on US autos with engine capacities at or over 2.5 liters. China alleged that manufacturers of those...

April 18th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Continuing a 20 year-long trend, the US Treasury Department this week did not name China a currency manipulator, though said China’s currency remains “significantly undervalued.” In its Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, the Treasury Department said China’s currency had appreciated 2.9 percent against the dollar over the course of 2013, but did not appreciate “as fast or by as much as is needed.” The report also raised concern over recent...

April 3rd, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee today asked US Trade Representative Michael Froman about the potential impact of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) on US-China trade negotiations, and raised concerns over China’s agricultural restrictions, currency, and participation in international trade negotiations during a hearing on the Obama Administration’s 2014 Trade Agenda.   

On the Shanghai FTZ, Froman noted USTR is monitoring the openings there closely, and remarked that the...

January 28th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) said he would focus on “positive, cooperative, and constructive” ways to promote US-China trade and reduce regional tensions if confirmed as ambassador to China. He said this strategy had already “paid dividends,” such as China’s commitment to negotiate a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) based on a US approach. Baucus is widely expected to be confirmed by the committee and full Senate...

January 14th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The US-China Business Council today called on the White House and congressional leaders to oppose counterproductive language expected to be included in 2014 fiscal year appropriations that bars the Departments of Commerce and Justice, NASA, and the National Science Foundation from purchasing information technology (IT) systems from China without first conducting a cyber-espionage or sabotage risk assessment. The letter states that the rule “does little to improve the security of the US...