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Enforcement, Trade Preference and Other Activities Examined in Annual ITC Report

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission released July 20 The Year in Trade 2014, its annual review of the previous year’s trade-related activities. This report includes information on (a) antidumping, countervailing, safeguard, intellectual property rights infringement and section 301 investigations; (b) the operation of trade preference programs; (c) significant activities in the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum; (d) developments in bilateral and regional free trade agreements; (f) bilateral trade issues with major trading partners such as the European Union, Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil and India; and (g) U.S. trade in goods and services.

Highlights of the 2014 report include the following.

AD/CV. The ITC instituted 16 new preliminary AD injury investigations and completed 36 final investigations, and 20 AD duty orders were issued on seven products from 13 countries. Sixteen new preliminary CV injury investigations were launched and nine final investigations were completed, with six CV duty orders issued on four products from four countries. The ITC instituted 40 sunset reviews of existing AD and CV duty orders and suspension agreements and completed 55 reviews, resulting in 50 orders being continued for up to five additional years.

IPR Infringement. There were 110 active section 337 investigations and ancillary proceedings, 55 of which were new. In all but 21 of the new investigations patent infringement was the only type of unfair act alleged. Approximately 32% of active investigations involved telecommunications and computer equipment, while small consumer items were involved in approximately 13% of proceedings.

AGOA. Forty-one sub-Saharan African countries were designated for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and 30 were eligible for AGOA textile and apparel benefits. Duty-free U.S. imports under AGOA, including those covered by GSP, were valued at $14.2 billion, down 47% from 2013 due to a decline in the value of U.S. imports of crude and other petroleum-based products. Imports under AGOA exclusive of GSP were valued at $11.9 billion.

CBERA. At the end of 2014, 17 countries and dependent territories were eligible for preferences under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act and eight were eligible for Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act preferences. U.S. imports under CBERA decreased by 16.8% to $2.0 billion, reflecting a decline in U.S. imports of methanol and crude petroleum, which are major imports from CBERA countries. Although Trinidad and Tobago remained the leading supplier of U.S. imports under CBERA, Haiti accounted for 20.6% of the total as well as nearly all U.S. imports of apparel entering under the program. U.S. imports of apparel from Haiti totaled $843.1 million, up 10.1% from 2013, of which $386.0 million entered under CBTPA. U.S. imports of apparel entering under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act and the Haiti Economic Lift Program, which added special provisions to CBERA, rose 7.0% to $451.5 million.

Trade with FTA Partners. Two-way merchandise trade between the U.S. and its FTA partners amounted to $1.6 trillion, or 40.1% of total U.S merchandise trade. Canada and Mexico accounted for 74.9% of this amount ($1.2 trillion), and the U.S. merchandise trade deficit with these countries grew by 2.8% to $87.8 billion. U.S. merchandise trade with other FTA partners increased 1.8% to $399.4 billion and the U.S. registered a $26.1 billion surplus in such trade with these 18 partners, up 38.9% from 2013.

WTO Dispute Settlement. Of the 14 new requests for dispute settlement consultations filed with the WTO, the U.S. was involved in one as the complainant and two as the respondent. There were 13 new dispute settlement panels established, including one at the request of the U.S. against India and two (by China and Korea) against the U.S.

Trade Deficit. The annual U.S. trade deficit increased from $476.4 billion to $504.7 billion due to a rise in the goods deficit from $701.7 billion to $735.8 billion, which is still well below the $835.7 billion record set in 2006. At the same time, the U.S. surplus on services rose from $225.3 billion to a new record of $231.1 billion.

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