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In the News: China, TPP, FTAs

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Why tech secrets, not steel, could cause the real clash between the U.S. and China

“Experts say it’s not clear how the Trump administration's intellectual property investigation into China will play out. There’s one scenario in which President Trump takes a more restrained route, opting to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization once the investigation is complete. Concerns over trade violations are typically taken up with the WTO from the start, so that course would help normalize the situation at hand. But Trump could also decide to act unilaterally, citing the scope of the IP theft problem and the need for harsh penalties. That could mean dramatic restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States, or tariffs on a wide range of consumer products, without the WTO’s blessing. Such moves would shake the global trading system — and would be impossible for China to ignore.”

[CNN]

Final version of Trans-Pacific trade deal released, rules pushed by U.S. on ice

“The final version of a landmark deal aimed at cutting trade barriers in some of the Asia-Pacific’s fastest-growing economies was released on Wednesday, signaling the pact was a step closer to reality even without its star member the United States. More than 20 provisions have been suspended or changed in the final text ahead of the deal’s official signing in March, including rules around intellectual property originally included at the behest of Washington.”

[Reuters]

Korea signs FTA with Central American countries

“Under the deal, tariffs on more than 95 per cent of all products from the Central American nations will be immediately or gradually eliminated, according to the government. South Korea expects to see growth in exports of its mainstay items, including cars, steels and synthetic resins as well as products from SMEs including cosmetics, medicine and medical supplies, aloe beverages, textiles and car parts. ‘Sensitive’ agricultural products including rice, chili, garlic and onions were excluded from concessions. Tariffs of some products including beef, pork and frozen shrimp will also be eliminated over a long stretch of time to minimize the damages to the related industries in Korea.”

[Straits Times]

Mexico, EU make headway in updating free trade agreement

“The Mexican government said the meetings in Mexico City had settled matters related to trade, state-owned enterprises, subsidies, trade in services and anti-corruption. The talks also saw progress on trade in goods, rules of origin, public tenders, investment and intellectual property.”

[Xinhua]

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