US Senator introduces resolution to withdraw US from the WTO.

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This past Thursday, US Senator Josh Hawley introduced a joint resolution to withdraw the US from the World Trade Organization.

The World Trade Organization was established in 1994 and under the agreement establishing the WTO – Congress receives a report every 5 years on the effects of the WTO on the US economy and enables a vehicle for Congress to revoke the US’ participation in the WTO.

In the joint resolution by Senator Hawley, Hawley writes the coronavirus pandemic has shown China’s use of the WTO to benefit themselves and other elites around the world at the expense of the US.

The full text of the resolution is available here.

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) next big free-trade zone since the WTO?

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Big news out of Africa from over the weekend from News Wires – African leaders met this past weekend to begin a continental free-trade zone that if passed by all 55-nations, would unite 1.3 billion people and create a $3.4 trillion economic block, the largest free-trade zone since the WTO was established in 1994.

The agreement to create the AfCFTA has been in the works for the past four years and is Africa’s effort to catch up on regional trade versus Asia and Europe. In 2017, African exports were 17% of exports versus 59% in Asia and 69% in Europe. The creation of the AfCFTA is an effort to boost growth in Africa as it has in Europe and North America.

However, Africa is a large continent and each individual country has concerns whether a new trade area will really benefit their country. The article cites Nigerian officials concerned the free trade area will result in a flood of cheaper goods that hinder efforts to increase local manufacturing. On the other hand, South African manufacturers see the free trade area as a benefit as they would be able to expand into the West and North Africa countries.

Will post news regarding the passage of the AfCFTA as it becomes available.a

EU wants to participate in the US-China steel dispute at the WTO.

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As previously posted on this blog, China requested consultations with the WTO regarding the US import tariffs on steel and aluminum. Requesting a consultation with the WTO is the first stage in the dispute process with the WTO and now the EU asked on April 23rd to join the dispute.

It is important to note that one week from now, President Trump will decide whether these tariffs would apply to imports from the EU. A temporary exemption from the 25% duty on steel and 10% duty on aluminum was granted for the EU until May 1st. Temporary exemptions were also granted to Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. South Korean imports have been exempted indefinitely.

In addition to the EU, Hong Kong, Russia, India and Thailand have also filed requests to join the consultations. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

 

China files WTO complaint over U.S. tariff actions.

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According to a World Trade Organization (WTO) report, the Chinese have requested a consultation with the United States under the WTO’s Dispute Settlement process about recent US tariff measures on Chinese goods.

Specifically, China claims the tariffs would be above the US bound rates of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). A request for consultation begins the dispute process in the WTO. After a consultation has been requested, the parties have an opportunity to discuss the matter and find a solution without litigation. If a solution is not reached between the two parties after 60 days, China may then request a panel to adjudicate the matter.

For more information, contact trade and customs attorney David Hsu, 832-896-6288, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.