Background

The Trump administration plans to continue its tough trade policies in 2020 but also intends to pursue several high-profile trade liberalization initiatives, according to the administration’s fourth annual trade policy agenda. The 2020 agenda asserts that the administration has made fundamental changes to U.S. trade policy that have benefited all Americans, including by:

- confronting China’s unfair trade policies and practices “head-on” and imposing substantial tariffs, which resulted in the phase one trade deal with China

- signing into law the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which rebalances the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico and Canada

- entering into two separate agreements with Japan that “will create massive export opportunities for American farmers and boost the approximately $40 billion in digital trade currently between the two countries”

- winning the largest award in WTO history in the Airbus case by obtaining the right to impose $7.5 billion worth of countermeasures against goods from the European Union

- initiating action against France for its unfair and discriminatory digital services tax, resulting in an agreement to suspend collection of the tax

- bringing a “fundamental rethinking” of the WTO

In 2020 the administration intends to continue to rebalance the U.S. relationship with its trading partners, aggressively enforce U.S. trade laws, and take quick action in response to unfair trade practices by other countries, including by pursuing the following initiatives.

- robustly enforce commitments by U.S. trading partners in trade agreements, including the USMCA, the phase one agreement with China, and WTO agreements

- pursue new trade agreements with important partners, including the United Kingdom and the EU, as well as Kenya

- pursue further negotiations with Japan for a comprehensive trade agreement that results in a fairer and more reciprocal trade and economic relationship

- pursue a phase two agreement with China that continues to require structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime

- limit the WTO to its original purpose of serving as a forum for nations to negotiate trade agreements, monitor compliance with agreements, and facilitate the resolution of international trade disputes

For more information on trade policy issues, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956.

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