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U.S., EU, Japan Continue Work on WTO Reform, E-Commerce, Export Controls, Etc.

Friday, January 11, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Trade ministers from the U.S., the European Union, and Japan met in Washington, D.C., Jan. 9 as part of an initiative launched in December 2017 to enhance cooperation on trade issues. According to a joint statement, discussions at this meeting covered the following topics.

Non-market policies and practices – Both the EU and the U.S. are continuing to treat China as a non-market economy when conducting antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings, and Beijing has filed WTO cases against both for doing so. In the meantime, the U.S., the EU, and Japan have intensified their exchange of information on this issue and identified additional criteria indicating market-oriented conditions. The ministers said they will also continue working together to maintain the effectiveness of existing World Trade Organization disciplines, including through the ongoing WTO disputes.

Industrial subsidies – The three sides will finalize text-based work in this area by spring and plan to engage other key WTO members thereafter.

Forced technology transfers – The ministers will review in the spring efforts to cooperate on enforcement, the development of new rules, investment reviews for national security purposes, and export controls.

WTO reform – A joint transparency and notification proposal was submitted to the WTO Council for Trade in Goods last November and engagement with other trading partners to advance this proposal will be intensified. The ministers also reiterated a call on “advanced WTO members claiming developing country status” (i.e., China) to undertake full commitments in ongoing and future WTO negotiations.

E-commerce – The three economies are pushing for the timely initiation of WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce that seek to achieve a high-standard agreement with the participation of as many WTO members as possible.

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