Notice Regarding 2008 Annual Review of Andean Trade Preference Act
View the text of USTR’s Federal Register notice announcing the 2008 Annual Review of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). Under this process, petitions may be filed calling for the limitation, withdrawal or suspension of ATPA or ATPDEA benefits by presenting evidence that the eligibility criteria of the program are not being met. USTR will publish a list of petitions filed in response to this announcement in the Federal Register. The deadline for the submission of petitions for the 2008 Annual ATPA Review is September 15, 2008. Petitions should be submitted via email to FR0716@ustr.eop.gov
Gutierrez and Schwab Announce 25th Anniversary Meeting of the U.S.-China JCCT
On August 15, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced that the 19th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) will be held the week of September 15th, 2008, at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation in Yorba Linda, California. This JCCT session will be co-chaired on the U.S. side by Schwab and Gutierrez and on the Chinese side by Vice Premier Wang Qishan. Secretary of Agriculture Edward T. Schafer will also participate in the meetings. Commenting on the JCCT, Secretary Gutierrez stated, “We have a strong interest in working with China to address the wide range of trade and economic issues that affect the lives of American workers, businesses, and farmers.” Recent accomplishments of the JCCT include China’s commitment to take steps to combat trade in counterfeit drugs and to reduce the regulatory burdens for medical devices imported into China, which U.S. industry estimates will save tens of millions of dollars.
USITC Releases The Year in Trade 2007
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) released The Year in Trade 2007, its annual overview of the previous year's trade-related activities, on August 4. The report is one of the government's most comprehensive reports of U.S. trade-related activities, covering major multilateral, regional, and bilateral developments. The publication provides a practical review of U.S. international trade laws and actions in 2007, a summary of WTO operations, and an overview of U.S. free trade agreements and negotiations and of U.S. bilateral trade relations with major trading partners. It includes complete listings of antidumping, countervailing duty, safeguard, intellectual property rights infringement, and section 301 cases undertaken by the U.S. government in 2007. Statistical tables highlight U.S. bilateral trade with major trading partners and trade under U.S. trade preference programs. In addition, data on U.S. private services trade are included in this edition of the report.
View USITC press release
Gutierrez Calls U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement a “Win-Win for Both Countries”
On August 12, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez responded to questions submitted by the public in “Ask the White House,” an online, interactive forum. The Secretary took questions, explaining the purpose and benefits of a free trade agreement, particularly those pending with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. “Now more than ever, these FTAs are critical to America’s continued growth and competitiveness,” Gutierrez said.
View “Ask the White House” transcript
Korea-United States Summit Statement; Importance of Approving Korea-U.S. FTA
On August 6, Korean President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President George W. Bush held a summit meeting in Seoul. During their meeting, the two leaders had in-depth discussions on the development of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, the approval of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), the North Korean nuclear issue and other North Korea-related issues, and ways to expand cooperation on important bilateral, regional and global issues. The two Presidents reaffirmed that the KORUS FTA will boost trade, increase economic growth and create jobs in both the United States and Korea, while also adding an enduring economic pillar to both countries' bilateral partnership. Toward that end, the two Presidents committed themselves to working with their respective legislatures to approve the KORUS FTA as soon as possible.
View Statement of the ROK-U.S. Summit
Gutierrez Announces 2008 Americas Competitiveness Forum Participants
Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez announced August 6 that Presidents Uribe of Colombia, Colom of Guatemala, and Saca of El Salvador will attend the second annual Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF), co-hosted with Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin on August 17-19. More than 20 nations from the Western Hemisphere will be represented in Atlanta by high-ranking government officials. “I’m honored that President Uribe, President Colom, President Saca and other distinguished guests will join me to discuss the importance of global competitiveness,” Gutierrez said. Confirmed private sector participants include Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO, Research In Motion, and Carl Schramm, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
View Commerce press release
USTR Statement Regarding Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Negotiations
View the text of a USTR press release regarding the July 29-31 negotiations on
an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), during which the participants reaffirmed their goal to combat global infringements of intellectual property rights. Discussions focused on civil remedies for infringements of intellectual property rights, including such issues as availability of preliminary measures, preservation of evidence, damages, and legal fees and costs. Participants also continued their previous discussions of border enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Ambassador Schwab’s July 30 Statement to WTO Trade Negotiations Committee
In her July 30 statement to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab acknowledged the U.S. delegation’s disappointment that an agreement was not reached in Geneva. Schwab assured the members that the United States will not withdraw its offer on reducing agricultural subsidies. Noting that several “difficult and complex issues… did not readily lend themselves to traditional “split-the-difference” … or “lowest common denominator” solutions, Schwab stated, “To get back on the path to success, we all will need to think hard about how we tackle these issues.” The ambassador underscored the United States’ commitment “to the mission of the WTO as the foundation of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and to multilateral negotiations.”
View text of USTR Schwab’s statement
Listen to audio/read transcript of USTR Schwab’s press conference
U.S. Trade Representative Schwab’s Statement on WTO Negotiations
View the text of U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab’s statement regarding the results of the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee meeting in Geneva. While noting the progress made during the talks, Schwab stated that the participants “will not be able to reach a breakthrough at this time.” Ambassador Schwab said that talks “deadlocked on the scope of a safeguard mechanism to remedy surges in imported agricultural products.” The United States “could not agree to a result that would raise more barriers to world food trade” in the midst of a global food price crisis. She stated that the United States “will continue to stand by our current offers… (which) are still contingent on others coming forward with ambitious offers that will create new market access. So far, that ambition is not evident.”
Gutierrez Calls on Congress to Pass FTAs at “America Wins with Trade” Bus Stop
On July 24, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez welcomed the Consumer Electronics Association’s “America Wins with Trade” bus to Washington. He highlighted export growth and the need for Congress to pass FTAs with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. “In 2007, our country exported a record of $1.6 trillion dollars,” Gutierrez said. “That’s 12 percent of our economy. Free trade agreements are good for jobs, are good for exports, are good for the economy, and there’s no excuse to not pass these agreements now.”
View text of Secretary’s remarks
View video of Secretary’s remarks
U.S. Manufacturing Exports Swing from Deficit to Surplus with FTA Countries
On July 23, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez announced new data showing that the United States is running a trade surplus in manufactured exports with our 14 free trade agreement (FTA) partners. In the first five months of 2008, the trade balance in manufactured goods rose to a $2.7 billion surplus with our FTA partners from a $12.3 billion deficit during the same period last year. “These figures show that our FTAs are succeeding and that Americans benefit from open markets,” Gutierrez said. This improvement in the trade balance is due to the increasing competitiveness of U.S. manufactured goods. Since 2002, FTAs have helped U.S. manufactured exports grow steadily and at a faster rate than imports — 63 percent compared to only 42 percent, respectively, year-to-date through May 2008 (compared to same period of 2002).
View FTA Manufacturing Trade Surplus Fact Sheet
United States Offers Further Cuts in Agricultural Subsidies in Trade Talks
View the text of U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab’s July 22 remarks at the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee meeting in Geneva, during which she stated that the USG is ready to cut allowable agricultural subsidies to $15 billion in order “… to move these negotiations forward … and in exchange for an ambitious market access outcome in agriculture and NAMA [Non-agricultural Market Access].” Noting that this offer is a “strong sign of our commitment to achieving a successful outcome,” Schwab added “…for this Round to succeed as a development round, all of the main developed and developing country players will be faced with hard decisions, and all of us – developed and emerging markets – must be prepared to make tough decisions.”
Schwab Announces Implementation of Two CAFTA-DR Textile Provisions
U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced on July 22 that the United States plans to implement two textile provisions in the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with respect to materials made in Mexico . The textile cumulation provision and the pocketing amendment, when implemented on August 15, will change the CAFTA-DR Rules of Origin to promote regional production. “The implementation of the CAFTA-DR textile cumulation provisions and the pocketing amendment marks another important step forward in the integration of apparel manufacturing in the region,” said Schwab. “The provisions will strengthen our already strong economic relationship with our trading partners in the region, and will create new opportunities for the use of U.S. fabric and yarn in apparel production in the region.”
View text of USTR press release
USTR Schwab’s Statement to WTO Trade Negotiations Committee Meeting
View the text of U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab’s statement to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee on July 21. Ambassador Schwab reminded the participants that progress in the Doha trade negotiations will not be achieved by falling back on tired rhetoric aimed only at perpetuating old divisions or creating new ones. At the same time, she is aware “that most, if not all of us share the objective that this week produce an outcome that will place the Doha negotiations on a path that results in a contribution to global economic development, growth, and poverty alleviation.”
Listen to Schwab’s remarks/view transcript of remarks
WTO Panel Finds Against China’s Taxation of U.S. Auto Parts
U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced on July 18 that the first WTO dispute settlement panel to address a dispute against China has issued a report finding that China’s treatment of U.S. and other imported auto parts is inconsistent with China’s WTO obligations. Schwab, who said that she is “extremely pleased with the issuance of a very strong report by the WTO panel,” added “The auto industry is an important part of the U.S. economy, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that U.S. manufacturers and workers in this and other industries enjoy the benefits of open markets and a level playing field.” The United States was joined by the European Union and Canada, which also pursued dispute settlement proceedings with China on the same matter.
Ambassador Schwab Signs Trade and Investment Agreement with East African Community
On July 16, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) aimed at deepening U.S. economic engagement with the East African Community (EAC). EAC Director-General for Customs and Trade Peter Kiguta signed the agreement on behalf of the EAC, witnessed by trade ministers and other senior officials from EAC member states Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Schwab commented, “We see the TIFA as a major step toward deepening the U.S.-EAC trade and investment relationship, expanding and diversifying bilateral trade, and improving the climate for business between U.S. and East African firms.” The U.S.-EAC TIFA will establish regular, high-level talks on the full spectrum of U.S.-EAC trade and investment topics, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the WTO’s Doha Round, trade facilitation issues, and trade capacity building assistance.
View USTR press release
Ambassador Schwab Signs Historic Trade Agreement with the Countries of the Southern African Customs Union
On July 16, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab signed the very first Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA) with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) in an official ceremony with SACU Trade Ministers from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa. Schwab stated, “This important agreement will provide a framework for the United States and SACU to work together to create the building blocks that strengthen and deepen our trade ties and that could lead to a free trade agreement in the long term.” The TIDCA will be a formal mechanism for the United States and SACU to conclude a range of interim trade-related agreements, cooperative work and other trade-enhancing initiatives. It also will allow the United States and SACU to develop work plans on key issues such as sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, technical barriers to trade, trade facilitation and investment promotion that should lead to increased U.S.-SACU trade and investment in the near future.
View USTR press release
Secretary Gutierrez Lauds Record Exports, Calling on Congress to Approve Trade Agreements for America
On July 11, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez issued a statement on the release of the May 2008 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report, which shows that U.S. exports increased 18.2 percent to $768 billion year-to-date (through May) over the same period in 2007. Imports also increased 12.0 percent to $1,063 billion and the trade deficit narrowed 1.3 percent during the same time period. Commenting that the data “highlights the strength of American exporters in the global marketplace,” the Secretary stated that “Free trade agreements... benefit close allies who are pursuing policies to increase their own openness to trade.” Declaring, “Now is not the time for America to give into calls for increasing economic isolationism,” Secretary Gutierrez urged the Congress to “work with us and pass the pending FTAs with Colombia, Korea and Panama, so we can have fair, two-way trade with our allies and friends.”
View Commerce press release
Gutierrez Hails Intellectual Property as the “Lifeblood of our Economy” at New IP Coordination Center
On July 10, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez joined Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff at the grand opening of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The new Center is an effort to enhance coordination among federal agencies tasked with protecting intellectual property both domestically and internationally. Gutierrez said that intellectual property enforcement would be increasingly “important as we rely more on high technology, on innovation, on patents, on trademarks. This is really the lifeblood of our economy.”
View text of Secretary’s remarks
Gutierrez Calls Colombia FTA Economic and National Security Issue
Citing the trade benefits to U.S. exporters, the courageous rescue of the 15 hostages held by the FARC as the result of efforts by the Colombian government, and the dynamic turnaround of the Latin American nation, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez urged Congressional approval of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in remarks to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on July 9. The Secretary noted Colombian President Uribe’s statement that the single biggest thing the United States can do to help Colombia continue to make progress is to approve the FTA.
View text of Secretary Gutierrez’s remarks
Under Secretary Padilla Stresses Openness as Key Principle for Successful International Trade
Under Secretary Christopher Padilla addressed the importance of an open economy to America’s competitiveness in the global economy as well as the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Korea, and Panama at a Hudson Institute conference in Washington on July 9. "America’s openness gives us a leg up in the global economy—we are stronger as a nation because we welcome the world’s products, ideas, investment, and people," said Padilla. He noted that the United States’ “leadership for openness also means that we should work for a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of negotiations in the World Trade Organization.” Padilla stated that the United States “must continue our policy of positive engagement with China,” calling it “our most important economic relationship of the 21st Century.” He said that the U.S. challenge is to help China maintain its openness, which, he added, is in the United States’ national interest.
View text of Padilla’s remarks
Under Secretary Padilla Addresses Asian Economic Integration
Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Christopher Padilla discussed Asian economic integration in a July 7 speech at the American Enterprise Institute’s forum, “Asian Economies in Transition: Will the United States Be Left Behind?” In his remarks, Mr. Padilla stated, “America is more dependent than ever on trade with Asia; the region accounts for about one-third of U.S. merchandise trade, more than any other single region of the world.” Noting the growth of intra-Asian trade, Padilla observed that the United States is losing market share in Asia: the United States is the source of approximately 10 percent of Asia’s imports, down from 20 percent two decades ago. Padilla called on the United States to be the driver in pushing forward “an inclusive pan-Pacific economic architecture,” bringing “its traditional advocacy of open markets to a region that is still taking only partial steps toward free trade and investment.” Stating that the United States does not view Asian economic integration as threatening, Padilla observed, “if there is a danger associated with Asian economic integration it is that an isolationist America will exclude itself from regional mechanisms, failing to lead the way toward expanded trade both with – and within – Asia.”
USTR Schwab Calls on Japan to Reinvigorate Regulatory Reform
On July 5, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced the results of this year’s work under the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative. She also urged Japan to devote greater attention to promoting new structural and regulatory reform measures. In the Initiative’s Report to the Leaders, the United States welcomed Japan’s latest initiatives to improve the environment for foreign direct investment. If translated into concrete actions, recent policy pronouncements such as those made by Japan’s Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy could bring important new progress in the coming months, such as improvements to the rules relating to new mergers and acquisitions in Japan. Separately, the report identifies a series of specific new steps that Japan is already taking, including liberalizing the sale of insurance products through banks, thereby enabling insurance providers to improve convenience and choice for consumers. The United States was strongly disappointed by Japan’s failure to implement a science-based approach consistent with international standards and requirements to fully resolve several agricultural issues, including improving its enforcement regime for maximum residue limits. The same concern extends to Japan’s beef market.
View USTR press release
View fact sheet on seventh report to leaders
United States and China Launch Investment Treaty Negotiations
The United States and China agreed to launch negotiations of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) on June 18 during the fourth meeting of the United States-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. In negotiating the BIT, the United States would seek to secure for U.S. companies important legal protections, including the right to: non-discriminatory treatment; fair and equitable treatment, including the right to due process; and submit disputes to independent international arbitration. These protections would help level the playing field for U.S. companies. Chinese investors in the United States already enjoy these protections under U.S. law. In addition, many of the European and Asian competitors of U.S. companies also enjoy these protections in China under BITs that their governments have already signed with China.
Bush Administration Completes 2007 Annual Review of Generalized System of Preferences Program
On June 30, Ambassador Susan C. Schwab announced the outcome of the Bush Administration’s 2007 Annual Review of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a program created in 1974 that provides duty-free treatment for nearly 5,000 products exported to the United States from 132 beneficiary developing countries. As a result of this year’s review, duty-free treatment for the vast majority of products covered by GSP will continue. In addition, the Administration will continue GSP eligibility for 99 exports from specific countries, even though the quantities of those exports exceeded statutory thresholds in 2007. As authorized by the GSP statute, the Administration will waive those thresholds known as “competitive need limitations” (CNLs). In keeping with the goals of the program and Congressional intent, GSP eligibility will be terminated for 25 products from specific beneficiary countries in order to advance a more targeted and effective program to promote economic development.
View results of 2007 annual review
View White House proclamation on GSP
U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Brings American Companies to Northern Iraq
Deputy Secretary of Commerce John J. Sullivan led the first official U.S. government business development mission of nine American companies to Northern Iraq, June 22-25. This mission is a strong indication that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is open for business and that American firms are increasingly interested in trading with and investing in this region. The business delegation included nine companies across the United States representing the agri-business, franchising, financial, medical, construction, logistics and engineering sectors. Noting that he was “…impressed by the people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the remarkable signs of economic progress in Erbil,” Mr. Sullivan stated, “Now is the time for American firms to explore and expand their businesses in this part of the world.” When he met with government officials and private sector leaders, Sullivan reaffirmed the United States’ support for the economic development of Iraq and stressed the importance of maintaining a highly favorable investment climate, including the need for the Kurdistan Regional Government to tackle the challenges of corruption and promote the rule of law. Companies with questions about the growing Iraqi market should contact the Commerce Department’s Iraq Investment and Reconstruction Task Force (IIRTF) in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Commerce Department Launches India Business Center
The U.S. Commerce Department announced June 17 that it has established a new India Business Center (IBC), housed in the Trade Information Center of the U.S. Commercial Service. The IBC will help U.S. companies take advantage of emerging market opportunities and the fast growing purchasing power of the middle class in India. Key sectors include education services, computer and peripherals, medical equipment, oil and gas field machinery, pollution control equipment, retail and franchising services and telecommunications. The IBC provides a range of services for U.S. exporters seeking to trade in India, including a Web portal that contains up-to-date information about doing business in India. In 2007, U.S.-India two-way trade reached an all-time high of $41 billion. U.S. merchandise exports to India increased 75 percent in 2006 to almost $18 billion in 2007. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is currently increasing by 8-9 percent per year, making it one of the fastest growing large economies in the world.
View ITA press release
Secretary Gutierrez to Lead CAFTA-DR Business Development Mission
Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez announced that he will lead a business delegation of U.S. exporters on a business development mission to the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, September 28-October 4, 2008. The mission will promote U.S. exports and investment and highlight regional opportunities that the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) has created since its implementation in 2006. The CAFTA-DR region is the third-largest export market in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the fourteenth-largest market in the world for U.S. exports.
View information about participating in CAFTA-DR Business Development Mission