Washington Update

May 19th, 2014
US-China Business Council

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced a US grand jury had issued indictments against five members of the Chinese military for cybertheft of US company secrets. China responded by suspending its participation in bilateral discussions on cybersecurity issues.

DOJ’s announcement, made on Monday morning in Washington, indicated that a grand jury in Pittsburgh handed down the indictments in relation to cyberespionage that occurred between 2006 and 2014 at five...

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 18th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

In a speech yesterday on the United States’ economic ties to the Asia-Pacific, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker gave few new insights on US commercial engagement with China. Pritzker’s remarks at Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS campus underscored the importance of the region to the US economy, as well as initiatives like TPP and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. On China, Pritzker noted China’s announcement at the Third Plenum to let the market play a “decisive role” in its...

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...

March 26th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

USTR Froman to Testify Before Congress

US Trade Representative Michael Froman will testify next week before Congress on the President’s trade agenda, according to news sources. Froman is expected to testify before the Senate Finance Committee on April 3, and the House Ways and Means Committee later in the week. 

The President’s 2014 trade agenda was issued in March, and highlighted trade priorities including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and...

February 28th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The Obama Administration on Wednesday nominated Robert W. Holleyman II as Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) with the Office of the US Trade Representative, which leads trade negotiations and coordinates investment policy on behalf of the Executive Office. Holleyman will manage the Asia-Pacific portfolio, assuming a role formerly held by Demetrios Marantis until his departure in May 2013. Since stepping down, Marantis’ position has been filled on an acting basis by Wendy Cutler...

February 12th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Catherine A. Novelli was confirmed unanimously today by the Senate as Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. Novelli replaces Robert Hormats, who left the position in July 2013 for the private sector. In her new role, Novelli will be charged with overseeing State-led economic and trade-related dialogues with China.
 
Novelli was formerly Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs at Apple, Inc., and has previously served for over 20 years in...

February 6th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The Senate voted unanimously today to confirm Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) as Ambassador to China. Baucus will assume the role currently held by Ambassador Gary Locke, who is set to step down March 1.

Baucus has been actively engaged on trade issues during his three decades in the Senate, particularly in his role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He has traveled to China eight times to discuss trade and commercial issues and has been a vocal advocate for Montana beef and other...

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...

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