Washington Update

May 22nd, 2014
US-China Business Council

Two nominees to fill vacant trade positions in the Obama administration got the green light on Wednesday from the Senate Finance Committee. Stephen Selig, nominated to be Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Darci Vetter, nominated to be Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, were approved by committee members unanimously by voice voice on May 21. The nominations now proceed to the full Senate for confirmation. The Senate...

May 22nd, 2014
US-China Business Council

The US House of Representatives is expected next week to vote on FY15 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS)appropriations bill, which will fund many of the United States’ trade and commercial functions. The House Appropriations Committee report on the measure included several China-specific provisions, some of which repeat previous funding restrictions, but others of which are new.
 
Returning restrictions proposed by House appropriators include limits on the Office of Science and...

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...

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...

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