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The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee held a hearing July 13 on expanding U.S. digital trade and eliminating barriers to U.S. digital exports. The hearing highlighted how high-standard and ambitious digital trade provisions in U.S. trade agreements can, if thoroughly implemented and fully enforced, open markets to U.S. exports and benefit U.S. businesses of all sizes that rely on digital trade.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) have introduced a concurrent resolution expressing strong support for closer economic and commercial ties between the U.S. and the UK following the decision by the people of the UK to withdraw from the EU. The resolution calls on the president to consult with the House and Senate to consider opportunities to promote further economic and commercial activity with the UK, including by way of a free trade agreement.
The Food and Drug Administration has made a number of changes to the system through which foreign and domestic food facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for consumption in the U.S. register with the FDA. These changes include a number of new requirements as well as codification of some requirements already in effect under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The rule is effective Sept. 12 although some of these changes will not enter into force until 2020.
The Department of Justice announced July 8 that a Chinese citizen has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to sell counterfeits of sophisticated integrated circuits to a purchaser in the United States. As part of his sentence, the man was also ordered to forfeit $63,000.
The Department of Labor has released a report in response to a submission filed in January by U.S. and Mexican labor unions and worker advocacy groups alleging that the government of Mexico violated the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation by failing to effectively enforce its labor laws with respect to freedom of association, collective bargaining, discrimination, minimum labor standards, occupational safety and health, and workers’ compensation and to ensure that its labor law proceedings are fair, equitable and transparent.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has made “substantial progress” but also continues to experience challenges with respect to implementing initiatives and programs responsible for enhancing maritime cargo security, according to a recent Government Accountability Office statement before a congressional panel.
At a recent summit, the leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico announced a number of initiatives to enhance North America’s economic competitiveness; expand joint efforts on climate change, clean energy and the environment; solidify regional and global cooperation; and strengthen security and defense.
As of Oct. 1 ACE will be mandatory for all remaining electronic portions of the CBP cargo process, including duty deferral, drawback, reconciliation, collections and liquidation.
The ITC estimates that in 2012 these agreements increased total U.S. exports by 3.6 percent, total U.S. imports by 2.3 percent, bilateral trade flows with partner countries across the traded goods and services sectors by an average of 26.3 percent, real GDP by 0.2 percent, total employment by 0.1 percent and real wages by 0.3 percent above what would have been achieved in the absence of the agreements.
A presidential proclamation issued June 30 implements the immediate or staged elimination of tariffs on 201 information technology products and makes a number of changes to the goods eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences. These changes are generally effective as of July 1.
The proposal, which does not appear to have yet been formally introduced but could be taken up on the Senate floor during the week of July 4, aims to counter a Vermont GMO labeling law set to take effect July 1 and the potential proliferation of additional and varying state-level standards.
Covered goods include multi-component semiconductors (MCOs), medical equipment, GPS devices, tools for manufacturing printed circuits, video game consoles, printer ink cartridges, static converters and inductors, loudspeakers, software media (e.g., solid state drives), point-of-sale cards to download software and games, LEDs, touch-sensitive input devices, children’s electronic learning devices, and various information and communications technology testing instruments.
U.S. and European Union officials said this week that they will continue to work toward their goal of concluding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement by the end of this year despite the United Kingdom’s vote last week to withdraw from the EU. However, some observers are doubtful such an outcome can be achieved given Brussels’ anticipated focus on the withdrawal process and its ramifications in the months ahead.