Washington Update

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...

January 8th, 2014
Erin Ennis

The Obama administration today formally nominated Senator Max Baucus (D, MT) to be the next US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. Once confirmed, Baucus will succeed Ambassador Gary Locke, who has served in the position since 2011.
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, and has traveled eight times to China to discuss trade and commercial issues. He...

November 8th, 2013
Stephanie Henry

Today the US-China Business Council (USCBC) said that China has made important progress in opening-up its market since acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, but still has many challenges left to address in order to achieve a fair and equitable market-place for foreign investors. 

In written testimony to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee, USCBC stated that while China is often in compliance with the letter of its WTO commitments, it falls short of the...

October 31st, 2013
Stephanie Henry

The US Treasury Department declined to label China a currency manipulator in its latest Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, released on Wednesday, but acknowledged China’s currency remains “significantly undervalued.” In its report, Treasury noted that China's real exchange rate has appreciated 12 percent against the US dollar since June 2010, and by 45 percent against the dollar since 2005. However, the report states that there is “evidence...

October 9th, 2013
Stephanie Henry

The Senate US-China Working Group, co-chaired by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), met on Tuesday with China Ambassador Cui Tiankai to discuss the bilateral commercial and economic relationship, as well as military cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. In a statement on the meeting, Senator Kirk announced that the working group – which will be formally launched this fall – will serve as a forum for dialogue between the Senate and Chinese government leaders....