USTR/US Trade Representative

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.

The Administration Thursday pulled the trigger on establishing a dispute settlement panel under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement challenging Mexico’s ban on biotech corn. At issue is Mexico’s February 13, 2023 decree, banning the use of biotech corn in tortillas or dough, and the instruction to Mexican government agencies to gradually substitute the use of biotech corn in all products for human consumption and for animal feed.

The United States and Mexico announced yesterday they have agreed on steps to address worker rights violations at a Mexican denim factory that is one of Levi’s largest suppliers. The course of remediation will address denials of rights at the Industrias del Interior facility in the state of Aguascalientes.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the United States Trade Representative have announced that a U.S. delegation will travel to Bangkok, Thailand, from September 10-16 for the fifth negotiating round of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). In Bangkok, the IPEF partners will continue to make progress on negotiations towards high-standard outcomes under Pillars I (Trade), III (Clean Economy), and IV (Fair Economy).

The USTR is mandated by law to annually report to Congress on Russia's implementation of WTO agreements, including agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Intellectual Property Rights, as well as its progress towards acceding to the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The USTR is currently soliciting public comments for this year's report to gauge Russia's compliance with the commitments made during accession. Specific areas of interest include import and export regulations, subsidies, standards, sanitary measures, intellectual property rights, government procurement, rule of law issues, trade facilitation, and other WTO commitment

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