Washington Update

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...

March 26th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

China Advances Case on “Zeroing”

China announced today it will advance another WTO case against the United States on its use of “zeroing” in targeted anti-dumping cases. China requested consultations at the WTO in December 2013, alleging that the United States' use of zeroing methodology in targeted dumping cases against certain Chinese exports violates the WTO Anti-dumping Agreement. Targeted dumping occurs when there are patterns of export pricing that differ significantly “among...

March 26th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The US has won a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against China on export restraints on rare earths, tungsten, and molybdenum -- important components in US products, including petroleum, automobiles, and certain electronics. China will have 60 days to appeal the ruling; if it chooses not to appeal, it will have a set period of time to comply with the panel’s findings.   

The case, initiated in September 2012, centered around China’s imposition of export duties, quotas, minimum...

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...

February 4th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations today unanimously approved Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) nomination to be US ambassador to China. While no date has been set for consideration of his nomination by the full Senate, media reports suggest the vote will take place before the end of the week. Baucus’ nomination is not expected to face opposition in the full Senate. Baucus will succeed current Ambassador Gary Locke after Locke departs on March 1.
 
For more on Baucus’ views and...

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...

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