The U.S. increased its trade enforcement activities but saw lower trade values in 2019, according to the International Trade Commission’s annual review of trade-related activities. The Year in Trade 2019 includes information on (1) antidumping, countervailing, safeguard, intellectual property rights infringement, national security, and section 301 cases active in 2019; (2) the operation of trade preference programs; (3) significant activities in the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum; (4) free trade agreements and negotiations, (5) bilateral trade issues with major trading partners such as the European Union, Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and India; and (5) U.S. trade in goods and services.
Section 301. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative concluded Section 301 proceedings against the European Union first instituted in 1987 by signing an agreement guaranteeing access to the EU market for U.S. high-quality beef under a tariff-rate quota. USTR also instituted new Section 301 proceedings associated with (1) a long-running WTO case against EU aircraft production subsidies, which resulted in new duties on $7.5 billion worth of goods imported from the EU, and (2) France’s digital services tax, which resulted in a proposal to raise tariffs on about $2.4 billion worth of imports from France.
AD/CV. The ITC instituted 37 new antidumping injury investigations and made 33 preliminary determinations and 33 final determinations. AD duty orders were issued in 33 final investigations on 20 products from 15 countries.
The ITC instituted 21 new countervailing injury investigations and made 17 preliminary determinations and 21 final determinations. CV duty orders were issued in 20 final investigations on 16 products from five countries.
The ITC instituted 83 sunset reviews of existing AD and CV duty orders and suspension agreements and completed 60, resulting in the continuation of 51 AD and CV duty orders for up to five additional years.
IPR Infringement. There were 128 active section 337 investigations and ancillary proceedings, 59 of which were instituted in 2019. The ITC completed 63 investigations and ancillary proceedings and issued six general exclusion orders, nine limited exclusion orders, and 25 cease and desist orders. Computer and telecommunications equipment accounted for about 29 percent of the active proceedings, followed by pharmaceuticals and medical devices at 15 percent and automotive, transportation, and manufacturing products at 12.
National Security. The Department of Commerce completed two investigations under the national security provisions of section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 covering automobiles/ auto parts and uranium, but no trade remedy actions were imposed as a result. One new Section 232 investigation was instituted on titanium sponge.
GSP. U.S. imports under the Generalized System of Preferences fell 12.5 percent to $20.9 billion. These imports accounted for 8.9 percent of total U.S. imports from GSP beneficiary countries and 0.8 percent of total U.S. imports. The top five beneficiary countries (Thailand, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and the Philippines) accounted for more than two-thirds of GSP imports.
Turkey was removed from GSP effective May 17, 2019, and India was removed effective June 5, 2019. About one-third of Thailand’s benefits were suspended but a portion of Ukraine’s benefits were restored.
AGOA. There were 39 sub-Saharan African countries eligible for AGOA benefits, 27 of which were also eligible for AGOA textile and apparel benefits for all or part of 2019. Cameroon’s eligibility was terminated as of Jan. 1, 2020.
Imports entering duty-free from beneficiary countries under AGOA (including GSP) were valued at $8.4 billion, a 30.1 percent decrease from 2018 that can be attributed primarily to a decline in the value of imports of crude petroleum, refined petroleum products, and passenger motor vehicles. In total, AGOA and GSP accounted for 40.5 percent of total imports from AGOA beneficiary countries.
Nepal. U.S. imports from Nepal under the Nepal Trade Preference Act were $3.1 million, down 2.1 percent from 2018, accounting for 3.4 percent of total U.S. imports from Nepal.
Caribbean. At the end of 2019, 17 countries and dependent territories were eligible for preferences under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, eight of which were designated eligible for Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act preferences. The value of U.S. imports under CBERA (including CBTPA) decreased by 7.7 percent to $5.6 billion, mainly reflecting a drop in U.S. imports of methanol. Haiti was the leading supplier of U.S. imports under CBERA, followed by Trinidad & Tobago. The value of U.S. imports of apparel from Haiti increased 12.2 percent to $720.0 million.
Trade with FTA Partners. Total two-way (exports and imports) goods trade between the U.S. and its 20 FTA partners was $1.6 trillion, which accounted for 39.6 percent of total U.S. goods trade with the world. The value of imports that entered under FTAs totaled $408.3 billion, accounting for 46.7 percent of U.S. imports from FTA partners and 16.3 percent of U.S. imports from the world.
NAFTA. U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico accounted for $1.2 trillion or 74.7 percent of total U.S. trade with FTA partners. U.S. exports to the NAFTA countries fell 2.9 percent to $548.8 billion while imports rose 1.9 percent to $577.8 billion. U.S. trade with non-NAFTA FTA partners was valued at $415.0 billion, up 0.2 percent, as U.S. exports increased 0.3 percent to $217.9 billion and imports increased less than 0.1 percent to $197.1 billion.
In December 2019 the three partner countries signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that updated NAFTA with modern provisions on digital trade, intellectual property, cybersecurity, good regulatory practices, and treatment of state-owned enterprises.
WTO Dispute Settlement. WTO members filed 19 new requests for dispute settlement consultations, significantly lower than the 29 filed in 2018 and closer to the average for the five preceding years. The U.S. was the complainant in one new case and the named respondent in three. Dispute settlement panels and the Appellate Body issued reports in nine disputes to which the U.S. was a party.