Background

The Trump administration plans to continue its tough trade policies in 2019 but also intends to pursue several high-profile trade liberalization initiatives, according to the administration’s third annual trade policy agenda.

The 2019 agenda claims that the Trump administration inherited a “deeply flawed global trading system that put U.S. companies and workers at an unfair disadvantage and discouraged true market competition.” In response, the administration has employed trade policies that use the United States’ “leverage as the world’s largest market … [to] create better conditions for U.S. workers and encourage more efficient global markets.” The result, the agenda states, has been growth in U.S. manufacturing, imports, exports, and employment.

The administration thus intends to continue these policies in 2019, including by pursuing the following initiatives.

- seek congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

- continue to press China to address longstanding trade irritants (click here for the most recent developments)

- continue to push trading partners for policy changes that will address U.S. trade deficits with those countries

- preserve the innovation and technology that remain vital to the U.S. economy and national defense (a possible reference to the ongoing Section 232 investigation of automobiles and auto parts and possible 232 investigations of other products) and defend the U.S.’ right to determine its national security interests (e.g., in WTO litigation challenging the Section 232 safeguards on steel and aluminum)

- launch trade negotiations with the European Union, Japan, and the United Kingdom

- deepen trade with Kenya through a trade and investment working group

- enforce U.S. laws and trading rights, including by methods such as formal WTO challenges and possible additional actions under Section 301 or other statutory authorities

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

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