Background

For more information on how these developments may affect your business, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

China

In recent talks with President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese officials in Beijing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed China’s non-market economic policies and practices that distort trade or threaten U.S. national security, raised concerns about the global economic consequences of China’s industrial overcapacity, and advocated for fair treatment and a level playing field for U.S. workers and business. Blinken also reiterated that the U.S. will continue to take necessary actions to defend its interests and values, as well as those of its allies and partners, including preventing advanced U.S. technologies from being used to undermine U.S. national security and economic interests without unduly limiting trade or investment.

E-Commerce

World Trade Organization members are working toward a first-ever set of baseline rules on digital trade, which one official said “would contribute to the growing e-commerce in our countries by providing greater legal predictability and certainty against the backdrop of increasing regulatory fragmentation.” The WTO reports that a meeting will be held this month to “confirm the finalization of outstanding issues,” with the goal of concluding negotiations by May 31, and that work will be done in July to incorporate the outcome into a WTO framework.

Ecuador

At the fifth meeting of the U.S.-Ecuador Trade and Investment Council held April 29, trade officials from the two sides held technical dialogues on agriculture, intellectual property, and labor and environmental issues. They also established new committees on labor affairs, environment, and fair trade, which they said would hold technical dialogues on these issues as part of an effort to pursue a bilateral trade policy that is resilient, supports workers, protects the shared environment, and fosters equitable growth.

Singapore

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports that at a recent meeting to review ongoing efforts under the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, trade ministers discussed ways to advance supply chain resilience, including “the importance of collaborating with trading partners to “incentivize a race to the top and aligning labor and environmental protections within trusted networks.” They also agreed to continue work on trade facilitation, labor, and environment issues and discussed “the importance of cooperative efforts in trade both within and beyond the FTA.”

Turkey

At an April 30 meeting under the U.S.-Türkiye Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, officials discussed agriculture, customs duties and charges, pharmaceutical market access, intellectual property protection, labor, and digital trade and investment policies and promotion initiatives. No accomplishments were announced but the two sides said dialogue on these issues would continue.

Kenya

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with Kenyan trade minister Rebecca Miano last month to discuss opportunities to strengthen bilateral commercial ties across a variety of sectors, including the digital economy, infrastructure, agriculture, clean energy, critical minerals, and artificial intelligence. Raimondo commended Kenya as a leader in Africa on digital transformation, citing specifically Kenya’s strides to achieve its “Silicon Savanah” aspirations as a growing hub for technology and clean energy.

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