China sends written response to U.S. trade reform demands

“While two industry sources familiar with the contents of the response said it was largely a restatement of previous Chinese commitments, it was seen as a necessary starting point for continued negotiations. … One of the sources briefed on China’s response said it reiterated pledges Xi has made in recent speeches, and demanded that the United States lift tariffs, including those set by the Section 232 investigation into steel and aluminum imports.”


UK and EU “agree text” of draft withdrawal agreement

The draft “is made up of a withdrawal agreement - said to run to 500 pages - alongside a statement about what the UK and EU's future relationship will look like. The withdrawal agreement includes how to guarantee there will not be physical border checks reintroduced in Northern Ireland - the major sticking point in recent weeks. Some Brexiteers fear the likely arrangement will keep the UK locked into EU trade rules for years to come in order to maintain a frictionless border.”


Trudeau says Canada wants a free trade deal with southeast Asian nations

“A preliminary study of a Canada-ASEAN trade agreement has been done, but experts suggest it could take years to finalize an agreement with the 10-nation bloc, which includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma. Trudeau told a leaders’ luncheon that exploratory talks could be wrapped up by the spring and negotiations to begin soon thereafter — timing that would be close to next fall’s federal election.”

[Financial Post]

Brazil, Argentina want Trump-style trade deals

“Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has signaled that he wants to reform Mercosur, the 4-nation customs union, to make it more agile and allow members to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements along the lines of what U.S. President Donald Trump is pursuing. Argentina’s government, led by President Mauricio Macri, supports the reform too, according to two senior government sources who asked not to be named.”


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