For more information on how these developments may affect your business, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Canadian trade minister Mary Ng Oct. 28 to discuss Canada’s proposed digital services tax. Ottawa has said it plans to impose this tax beginning Jan. 1, 2024, a move the U.S. has strongly opposed, and some U.S. lawmakers have recently demanded that the Biden administration be prepared to respond immediately. USTR noted the “positive tone” of the talks between Tai and Ng on this topic and said the two officials “pledged to continue working together to identify a productive way forward.”
The seventh negotiating round on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will be held Nov. 5-12 in San Francisco. Participants concluded talks on the supply chain pillar earlier this year and are said to be working to finalize agreement on the clean economy and fair economy pillars by the time the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meetings begin Nov. 11. Discussions on the trade pillar are expected to continue beyond that date.
USTR said Oct. 28 that the U.S. and the United Kingdom have made “significant progress” in negotiating a targeted agreement that would allow cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese, and nickel that are extracted or processed in the UK to count toward sourcing requirements for clean vehicles eligible for the Section 30D clean vehicle tax credit of the Inflation Reduction Act. However, no further details or schedule for additional talks were made available.
USTR Tai will co-chair the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum Nov. 3-4 in South Africa. USTR said the forum will include discussions on “how to strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa and how to promote resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth and development.”
Renewal of AGOA, which is currently slated to expire Sept. 30, 2025, and whether and how to revise the program will undoubtedly be discussed as well. A number of U.S. senators told Tai in an Oct. 26 letter that “African leaders and American businesses are calling for AGOA’s extension and urging Congress to work expeditiously to extend the program into the next decade” and urged her to consider AGOA reauthorization “an important priority” in the months ahead.
An NCA NewsWire article reports that Australia has walked away from talks on a bilateral free trade agreement with the European Union “following an unresolved spat over greater market access for Australia framers and a failure to agree on name protections for European products.” The article noted that talks are unlikely to resume until at least next summer after elections in the EU.
A Yonhap article reports that South Korea and the EU plan to launch talks on an agreement that will “provide legal certainty for businesses and consumers engaged in digital trade, enhance their protection in digital transactions, and foster an open, free and fair online environment.”
USTR and State Department officials met with counterparts from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras Oct. 31 for a trade and environment meeting. Talks focused on the role of trade in supporting more resource-efficient and circular economies as well as the opportunities and challenges of critical minerals extraction, processing, and recycling.
USTR sent a letter to Bangladesh Oct. 19 outlining a host of issues on which it hopes to engage with that country under the bilateral trade and investment cooperation framework agreement in the coming months. These include labor rights for workers in special economic zones and export processing zones, recently-passed laws on intellectual property rights enforcement (including with respect to imports and exports) and reforms, digital trade, non-payment and profit repatriation issues for U.S. companies invested in Bangladesh, and agricultural biotechnology.
United Arab Emirates
At the tenth economic policy dialogue between the U.S. and the UAE held Nov. 1, the U.S. encouraged the UAE to sign a joint statement on cooperation on global supply chains and a working group discussed opportunities for further cooperation on international sanctions and countering illicit finance. Other topics of discussion included the digital economy, food and energy security, aerospace, and investment.
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