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Enforcement, Trade Deficit, FTAs, Other Activities Examined in Annual ITC Report

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission has released The Year in Trade 2016, 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) negotiations on an Environmental Goods Agreement, a Trade in Services Agreement, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; (e) NAFTA and other free trade agreements already in effect; (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 2016 report include the following.

AD/CV. The ITC instituted 36 new AD injury investigations and made 35 preliminary determinations and 41 final determinations, and AD duty orders were issued on eight products from 16 countries. Sixteen new preliminary CV injury investigations were launched, with 14 preliminary and 25 final determinations, and CV duty orders were issued on seven products from seven countries. The ITC instituted 53 sunset reviews of existing AD and CV duty orders and suspension agreements and completed 53, resulting in 47 orders being continued for up to five additional years.

IPR Infringement. There were 122 active section 337 investigations and ancillary proceedings, 80 of which were new. Approximately 30 percent of active investigations involved telecommunications and computer equipment, followed by small consumer items (14 percent), automotive, transportation, and manufacturing products (11 percent), pharmaceuticals and medical devices (11 percent), and consumer electronics (seven percent). A total of 66 investigations and ancillary proceedings were completed, resulting in three general exclusion orders, nine limited exclusion orders, and 11 cease and desist orders.

GSP. U.S. imports under the Generalized System of Preferences increased 5.6 percent to $18.7 billion, accounting for 9.3 percent of total U.S. imports from GSP beneficiary countries and 0.9 percent of total U.S. imports. The top five beneficiary countries (India, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Philippines) accounted for 75 percent of GSP imports. Burma’s eligibility for GSP benefits was reinstated.

AGOA. Thirty-eight sub-Saharan African countries were eligible for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and 28 were eligible for AGOA textile and apparel benefits. Burundi’s designation as an AGOA beneficiary was terminated and a determination was made to reinstate AGOA eligibility for the Central African Republic.

Imports entering the U.S. exclusively under AGOA (excluding GSP) increased 17.8 percent to $9.4 billion. The top two major petroleum-producing AGOA beneficiary countries, Nigeria and Angola, both experienced increases in the value and quantity of their exports of crude petroleum to the U.S. under AGOA.

Caribbean. Seventeen 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 fell 43.2 percent to $876 million, mainly reflecting a decline in U.S. imports of methanol, apparel, and crude petroleum, which are major imports from CBERA countries. Trinidad and Tobago remained the leading supplier of U.S. imports under CBERA at 43.8 percent of the total value, followed by Haiti at 36.3 percent and Jamaica at 8.6 percent. U.S. imports of apparel from Haiti fell 5.2 percent to $848.5 million but the value of such imports entering under the HOPE acts grew 7.5 percent to $535.0 million.

Trade with FTA Partners. Two-way goods trade between the U.S. and its FTA partners amounted to $1.4 trillion, or 39.1 percent of total U.S goods trade. Canada and Mexico accounted for 75.0 percent of this amount and the U.S. goods trade deficit with these countries fell by 1.2 percent to $75.3 billion. U.S. goods trade with other FTA partners declined 5.2 percent to $356.2 billion and the U.S. registered a $3.1 billion surplus in such trade, down 74.4 percent from 2015.

The value of U.S. imports entered under FTAs and subject to FTA duty reductions and eliminations rose 0.3 percent to $374.2 billion. Imports under FTAs accounted for 50 percent of total imports from FTA partners and 17.1 percent of total U.S. imports from the world. The largest increase in imports under an FTA was with Korea (95.3 percent), followed by Oman (35.8 percent) and Panama (31.9 percent).

WTO Dispute Settlement. Of the 17 new requests for dispute settlement consultations filed with the WTO, the U.S. was involved in three as the complainant and five as the respondent. There were eight new dispute settlement panels established, including one at the request of the U.S. and one against the U.S.

Trade Deficit. The value of goods exports fell 3.3 percent to $1.45 trillion while goods imports lost 2.6 percent to $2.19 trillion, resulting in an overall goods trade deficit of $735.5 billion. The U.S. registered trade surpluses in agricultural products ($9.3 billion) and services ($250.6 billion).

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