USTR/US Trade Representative

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released a Federal Register notice for the enhanced Section 301 tariffs announced by the Biden administration last week. The notice includes annexes listing the 382 HTSUS subheadings and 5 statistical reporting numbers of the HTSUS, with an approximate annual trade value of $18 billion. Included are Exclusions and a process for requesting exclusions.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released its 2024 Special 301 Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights.   “Many of the issues highlighted in the Special 301 Report demand collaborative efforts from our allies and partners,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  

The USTR has requested a Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to resolve a labor dispute at call center operator Atento Servicios, S.A. de C.V. .    At the conclusion of its 45-day review period, Mexico found a denial of rights had existed, but determined that Atento Servicios had taken the necessary actions to remediate the denial of rights during Mexico’s review period. The United States disagrees with this determination and is requesting establishment of an RRM panel to review the situation.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai addressed the annual meeting of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), the umbrella group representing textiles "from fibers to finished products, machinery manufacturers to power suppliers."  Tai highlighted workstreams on the CAFTA-DR Textiles and Apparel Supply Chain Directory and a joint project with Customs and Border Patrol as examples of industry specific assistance.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are calling on US Trade Representative Katherine Tai to press for renewal of the long-standing  Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions transactions at the World Trade Organization’s upcoming 13th ministerial conference. The moratorium covers electronic transmissions of both digital goods like e-books, music, movies and video games and digital services (like software, emails and text messages).

The Office of the United States Trade Representative today announced that Heather Hurlburt will step down as chief of staff on January 26, 2024.   Jamila Thompson, a current senior advisor to the U.S. Trade Representative, will serve as acting chief of staff following Hurlburt’s departure. 

The 14th Ministerial-level meeting of the India-United States Trade Policy Forum (TPF) took place on January 12, 2024, in New Delhi, India. Chaired by India's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal, and U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, the meeting focused on strengthening bilateral trade ties and enhancing economic relations. The Ministers recognized the TPF's role in boosting India-U.S. trade, which likely surpassed $200 billion in 2023, despite global trade challenges. Acknowledging the untapped potential, they expressed a mutual desire to diversify and increase bilateral trade. Significant progress was noted since the 13th TPF, particularly in settling seven long-standing trade disputes at the WTO. These resolutions followed high-level visits between the two countries, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the U.S. and U.S. President Biden to India.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has released the Fifteenth Biennial Report on the Operation of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). On a biennial basis, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is required to submit a report to Congress regarding the results of the general review of CBI beneficiary countries and their performance under the CBI eligibility criteria.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced Nov. 2 that Cara Morrow is taking on the position of senior advisor, overseeing close coordination with the Office of Western Hemisphere, the Office of Europe and the Middle East, the Office of Labor Affairs and the Office of Environment and Natural Resources.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will be in Osaka over the weekend for the G7 Trade Ministers’ meeting. G7 trade ministers will gather on October 28 to 29. During this meeting, Ambassador Tai will participate in ministerial sessions on how G7 members can work together to address sustainability and resilience in the global trading system.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced Monday that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Asiaway Automotive Components Mexico facility in San Luis Potosiare being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Asiaway Automotive Components Mexico performs die casting and machining of aluminum parts for "Tier One" suppliers such as Magna, Cummins, and Robert Bosch, as well as General Motors and BMW. The plant opened in June of 2023 and employs 300 workers.   Parent company Ningbo Asiaway Automotive Components Co.,Ltd is a privately held company based in Ningbo, an industrial hub near Shanghai. 

There is a wide disparity among countries when it comes to access to COVID-19 testing and medicines, largely based on income, the International Trade Commission found in its highly-anticipated report released yesterday. Other key factors affecting demand and availability including access to intellectual property, prices and affordability, regulatory approvals, healthcare infrastructure and the healthcare priorities of governments, according to the report.

Following on his August complaints about the Federal Trade Commission being engaged in digital trade negotiations as part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) has turned to the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) role. In a letter to USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai, Chairman Comer raises concerns that the USTR has failed to transparently engage with Congress during the negotiations as they seek to rewrite rules for competition and digital trade.

After being cited twice for unfair labor practices under the USMCA, Troy Michigan-based VU Manufacturing has reportedly closed their automotive components facility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico.  "[R]ather than comply with the terms of the remediation plan and ensure it is operating consistent with Mexican labor laws, the United States understands that Manufacturas VU has closed the facility and ended operations in Mexico,” read a USTR statement.

  The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the National Economic Council today announced the appointment of United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to the White …

Deputy United States Trade Representative Jayme White met last week with Mexico’s Under Secretary of Economy for Foreign Trade Alejandro Encinas ahead of the second USMCA SME Dialogue. During the meeting, Ambassador White reiterated concerns about the recent surge in U.S. imports of certain steel and aluminum products from Mexico and the lack of transparency regarding Mexico’s steel and aluminum imports from third countries, and encouraged Mexico to enhance its monitoring of Mexican steel and aluminum exports to the United States in accordance with the 2019 Joint Statement by the United States and Mexico on Section 232 Duties on Steel and Aluminum.

In a speech at Washington's CSIS, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai outlined the Biden-Harris Administration's vision for a reformed World Trade Organization (WTO). The Ambassador emphasized the need for the WTO to adapt to contemporary challenges like climate change and non-market economic policies. She also reiterated that the rules governing the WTO should not be static but must be updated through ongoing negotiations among member states.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), through the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), publishes the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE Report) each year. USTR invites comments to assist it and the TPSC in identifying significant foreign barriers to, or distortions of, U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment, and U.S. electronic commerce for inclusion in the NTE Report.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)  2023 trade enforcement priorities as spelled out in their annual report to congress outlines a continuation of previous initiatives, elevating labor and environmental standards, but continuing a staunch America First approach to national security priorities in dealing with multilaterla and bilateral disputes.

The Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement received a Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) petition from a Mexican aviation union July 31. The petition, from Asociación Sindical de Pilotos Aviadores de México (ASPA), alleged retaliation against union members from Aerotransportes Mas de Carga (Mas Air), an airline based in Mexico City.

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