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USMCA: Canadian Dairy Quotas Fair

Doing it's best to avoid the news cycle with a release the Friday after Thanksgiving, the USTR released a final repudiation of US objections to Canada's dairy tariff-rate quota (TRQ) calculations by the treaty's dispute settlement panel. In the report, the panel found that Canada’s measures are not inconsistent with the USMCA provisions cited by the United States. "I am very disappointed by the findings in the USMCA panel report released today on Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures,” Ambassador Katherine Tai said. The USMCA panel issued its final report on November 10, 2023, and pursuant to Article 31.17.6 of the USMCA, the parties made the panel report public on November 24, 2023. 

APEC Summit: Progress, But No IPEF Trade Deal

The 13 countries negotiating the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework trade pillar said at the close of their Summit that progress is being made, even though they were not able to not able to close out the trade deal. The acknowledgment from trade ministers came as President Biden announced that talks are completed on the other three pillars – supply chains, clean energy and anti-corruption. The Administration had hoped the trade pillar would be done as well in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meets taking place this week in San Francisco. President Biden spent his time in San Francisco stressing US longstanding commitment to a region often overshadowed by China.“We aren’t going anywhere. For decades, America’s enduring commitment to the region has been a springboard that’s enabled growth – transformative growth, ensured the open flow of commerce, and lifted millions of people out of poverty,” he said.

U.S.-China Commission Calls for Single Export License Scheme

Congress should consider creating a single export licensing system to strengthen export controls on China, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report to Congress released last week. In its report, the commission urged Congress to consider a number of steps to make it more difficult for China to evade US controls. First, the report recommends that Congress hold hearings to evaluate the potential for establishing a single export licensing system.
Thea Kendler, Assistant Secretary Of Commerce For Export Administration

Thea Kendler Discusses the Oct. 17th Rules

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea Kendler held a briefing November 6 to discuss the rules issued October 17th. She explained the new parameters, associated license requirements, the new notified advanced computing license exception, and some of the measures put into place to address possible circumvention of the controls.

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Congress Chides USTR on Digital Trade

Co-Chairs of the Digital Trade Caucus, led a bipartisan letter with 38 members of Congress urging U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to reconsider her agency’s decision to abandon important bipartisan digital trade proposals at the World Trade Organization. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) contend the decision to walk away from key digital trade proposals runs counter to the interests of American workers and businesses, while ceding more leverage to foreign powers, like the People's Republic of China (PRC), to write the rules that will govern the global digital economy for years to come.

USMCA: More Maquiladora Monkeyshines

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced  that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Autoliv Steering Wheels Mexico facility in El Marqués in the state of Quéretaro are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Allegations against the Swedish airbag giant include firing workers in retaliation for union activity, making coercive statements that interfere with workers’ rights and denying access to the facility for union-related activity.
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Asia Pacific leaders and economic ministers endorsed reform of the World Trade Organization is their final statements emerging from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in San Francisco. As the United States wrapped up its APEC host year, Asia Pacific ministers also stressed the importance to the global trading system of a successful WTO 13th ministerial meeting in February. “We are committed to necessary reform of the WTO to improve all of its functions, including conducting discussions with a view to having a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024,” according to the 2023 APEC leaders’ Golden Gate Declaration.
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) remained sharply divided on key agricultural negotiation issues, casting doubts on the possibility of a resolution at the WTO's 13th ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi, February 2024. During the Doha negotiating body's recent two-day meeting, discussions focused on public stockholding programs, the special safeguard mechanism, reform of agricultural domestic support, and updating the fixed external reference price based on 1986-88 data. Similar divisions in the past have hindered substantial outcomes in Buenos Aires (2017) and Geneva (2022).
Flushed from their successful campaign to scuttle the IPEF Trade Pillar, Senate Finance Committee Democrats Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa) called on President Biden to keep in place the current Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs on imports from China. The tariffs are important for combating anticompetitive behavior by China and other nonmarket economies, the two senators wrote in a letter to the President.
This briefing paper on dual-use and cyber-surveillance provides on overview of current EU export controls of dual-use items in general and cyber-surveillance items in particular, and what the approach is in countries such as the US, the UK and Japan. It explains the impact of the sanctions against Russia on the export of dual-use items and the use of cyber-surveillance in the conflict in the Ukraine.
Two Texas men were convicted at trial on Nov. 15 on charges of attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with their attempt to transact in sanctioned Iranian petroleum and launder the proceeds. According to evidence presented at trial, in 2019 and early 2020, Zhenyu “Bill” Wang and Daniel Ray Lane engaged in a conspiracy to purchase petroleum from Iran, in violation of economic sanctions imposed by the United States under IEEPA. They then planned to mask the origins of the petroleum and sell it to a refinery in China. The defendants also attempted to conceal their illegal transactions by obtaining foreign passports, engaging in sham contractual agreements, and conspiring to launder the proceeds of the sale through shell entities and offshore financial accounts.
Two U.K.-based reinsurance brokers have agreed to resolve investigations by the Justice Department into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) arising from a corrupt scheme to pay bribes to Ecuadorian government officials.  Tysers and H.W. Wood each entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the department in connection with a criminal information filed in the Southern District of Florida charging both companies with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. 
Binance Holdings Limited (Binance), the entity that operates the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange,, pleaded guilty and has agreed to pay over $4 billion to resolve the Justice Department’s investigation into violations related to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), failure to register as a money transmitting business, and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) Binance’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Changpeng Zhao, a Canadian national, also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program, in violation of the BSA and has resigned as CEO of Binance.
All but three Republican Senators sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo raising questions over the decision  to pause for 90 days the issuance of export licenses for firearms, ammunition, and certain accessories to most overseas markets  The letter notes the impact this pause could have on “U.S. commercial and economic interests” which according to the firearms and ammunition industry has an estimated “direct cost of at least $89 million associated with the 90 day pause and at least $238 million annually should the pause become permanent.”
The Regulations and Procedures Technical Advisory Committee (RPTAC) will meet December 12, 2023, 9:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, in the Herbert C. Hoover Building, Room 3884, 1401 Constitution …
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is imposing sanctions on three entities and identifying as blocked property three vessels that carried Russian crude oil above the price cap agreed to by the United States and its allies. “Shipping companies and vessels participating in the Russian oil trade while using Price Cap Coalition service providers should fully understand that we will hold them accountable for compliance,” Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo.
The three co-conveners of the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on electronic commerce negotiations have released a fifth revised draft text. This version significantly dilutes the previously ambitious digital trade agreement, transforming it into a facilitation deal with proposals based on best endeavors, according to sources familiar with the new text. After over six years of negotiations, the conveners are reportedly hastening to finalize a modest deal in time for the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 13th ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi early next year.
In a victory for U.S. aluminum extruders, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today found there is a reasonable indication that the American aluminum extrusions industry is materially …
 In a concerted effort to combat the import of clothing and textiles made with forced labor, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to intensify oversight and enforcement measures. The Senators addressed their concerns to Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller, highlighting the necessity of enforcing the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
On November 16, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a letter to Lifecore Biomedical, Inc., formerly known as Landec Corporation, under the agency's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Corporate Enforcement Policy. This letter was a "declination with disgorgement," [link] indicating that the DOJ decided not to prosecute Lifecore despite identified misconduct. The situation involved FCPA violations by Lifecore’s former subsidiary, Yucatan Foods. It was found that employees and agents of Yucatan Foods had engaged in bribery, specifically paying bribes to Mexican government officials to secure a wastewater discharge permit.