Does President Trump want the US to become the 12th TPP member?

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According to a Daily Caller website article published today, President Trump asked Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow to look into rejoining the trans-pacific partnership. The Daily Caller cites Senators Ben Sasse and Pat Roberts as the source of the news.

Sasse noted that Trump “deputized” Kudlow to “go get it done” and explore the possibility of rejoining TPP as the 12th party now that the other 11 nations have struck a deal. “It might be easier for us to join now, as opposed to long process,” he elaborated.

No other details are mentioned in the article but updates will be posted they are available.

US-Bahrain Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Trade in Food and Agriculture Products.

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Flag of Bahrain (credit Wikipedia)

According to a press release posted on Monday, April 9th – the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the United States and Bahrain have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Trade in Food and Agriculture Products. One highlight of the MOU is the increase in certainty and enhanced cooperation on requirements for U.S. exports of food and agriculture products to Bahrain, and enables more opportunities for the United States and Bahrain to continue joint efforts to facilitate bilateral trade in food and agriculture products.

The MOU also says indicated that Bahrain will continue to accept existing U.S. export certifications for food and agricultural products. Accepting current export certifications will save U.S. exporters the cost of new certifications. The MOU also discussed increasing the export of food and agricultural products from the United States to Bahrain.

A full copy of the US-Bahrain MOU can be found here.

Renegotiated KORUS FTA results in changes more favorable to US companies.

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According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative website, the Trump administration has negotiated additional favorable terms of the United States – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that went into effect in 2012.

Fulfilling part of his campaign promises, President Trump has re-negotiated the KORUS with these (and many more) favorable changes to US companies:

1. Korea will double the number of US automobile exports to 50,000 cars per manufacturer per year.

2. US automobile exports to Korea that meet US safety standards can enter the Korean market without further modification. This lowers the cost of US cars being sold in Korea as additional testing and modifications are not needed before the US cars are sold in the marketplace.

3. Korea will recognize US standards for auto parts to service US vehicles in Korea, this reduces the labeling burden for US parts manufacturers.

4. Korea will amend their Premium Pricing Policy for Global Innovative Drugs to ensure non-discriminatory and fair treatment for US pharamceutical exports.

5. Korea imports of steel products into the US will be subject to a product-specific quota equal to 70% for the average annual import volume of such products during the years 2015-2017, resulting in reduction of Korean steel shipments to the US.

If you have any questions regarding the KORUS or other trade and customs law issues, feel free to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) signed on March 8th, 2018.

Last Thursday, the 11 countries participating in the as-formerly-known-as Trans-Pacific Partnership signed the Asia Pacific trade pact without the United States.

The revised agreement known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) aims to reduce tariffs between member countries. One main item left out of the CPTPP (but included in negotiations of the TPP) are the lack of intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals favored by the United States.

According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the CPTPP will generate $147 billion in income, versus an estimated $492 billion in global income benefits under the original TPP.

 

Feel free to contact David Hsu for any questions related to CPTPP or how this trade pact may impact your business, 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Final version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal released.

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According to February 20th Reuters article, the remaining 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have finalized the trade pact set to be signed in Chile on March 8th. After signing, the trade deal provisions will take effect at the end of 2018 or the first half of 2019.

Reports indicate the final version removes or changed 20 provisions regarding intellectual property that were originally included by the United States. Also known as “TPP-11”, the remaining parties believe the trade pact will benefit all members economically across all job sectors. The 11 member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Check back here for more updates. If you have any trade or customs law questions, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

11 countries reach agreement on TPP.

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According to a Prime Minister of Australia press release, 11 countries have agreed to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in March of this year.

After the US withdrew from the TPP, the remaining 11 countries are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The TPP is expected to eliminate more than 98% of tariffs in a trade zone with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion, check back here for the text of the agreement once it is made public.

If you have any trade or customs law issues and want to speak to an experienced trade law attorney, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Serbia and Turkey sign new free trade agreement.

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According to a B92.net news article, Serbia and Turkey signed a new free trade agreement. The signing took place on January 30th and will allow Serbia duty-free exports to Turkey of beef, raw and refined sunflower oil, sunflower seeds and some milling products.

In addition to duty free exports, quotas for certain types of frozen fruit exports to Turkey will also be doubled.

Current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Developments since the US Withdrawal.

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The 2017 APEC Summit was held in Da Nang this year from November 6th – 11th.

At this meeting, 11 countries in the Pacific Rim decided to continue plans for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after the US withdrawal.

The former agreement known as TPP was renamed the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” or (CPTPP). The primary reason for the change was the old TPP agreement required ratification within two years by economies that consitute 85% of the total GDP of the 12 members. The US withdrawal from TPP leaves Japan unable to constitute 85% of the total GDP (the US constituted 60% of the former TPP bloc’s combined GDP). The 11 remaining countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – agreed to revise the 85% total GDP ratification clause.

Since the US withdrawal, there have been four rounds of negotiations and the details of the CPTPP are yet to be released. However, based on the Government of Canada Ministerial Statement on CPTPP, the CPTPP appears to replicate the original TPP.

The 11 current members still are committed to key trade industries as textiles, removing barriers to trade, addressing competition, state-owned enterprises and labor and dispute settlements.

The main difference with the new CPTPP agreement versus the old TPP are the removal of approximately 20 provisions requested by the US. Some provisions requested by the US included a copyright protection rule of 70 years. Under the new CPTPP, the copyright protection has been reduced to 50 years. Other differences concern competition rules for state-owned enterprises and change in time required for trade unions to be subject to dispute settlement measures.

As of today, the revised CPTPP agreement has been agreed to in principle at the summit but remains to be ratified.