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Further to our alert on the development of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation (Link), we would like to share additional details about the RCEP based on the current information available. The RCEP members signed the RCEP on 15 November 2020 during the 37th ASEAN Summit. After the signing, the Thai government shall arrange for a public hearing before presenting to the parliament for ratification. We will keep you updated on this issue if…

On November 15, 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by China and 14 other nations — the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei*, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia*, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore*, Thailand and Vietnam*) plus Australia*, China, Japan*, New Zealand* and South Korea. Many of the products for which tariffs are eliminated are already duty-free. [Countries with an * are also signatories to the CPTPP] RCEP was originally proposed…

On 9 September 2020, the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that the UK has taken a major step in the process of joining CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), one of the world’s largest and most dynamic free trade areas. The press release stated in part: International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, alongside the current chair of the CPTPP Commission, Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Márquez, opened discussions between senior UK trade officials and…

In brief Singapore updated its strategic goods control regime on 3 August 2020 to ensure robust administration of controls and effective risk assessments, while ensuring the facilitation of legitimate trade. Key amendments include ensuring individual and bulk permit holders have access to English translations for strategic trade records kept in other languages. For bulk permit holders, expanded document categories under recordkeeping requirements and monthly reporting will apply. A new offence has also been created for…

On 24 July 2020, the European Commission announced that at a meeting of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body, the European Union, backed by ten other members of the World Trade Organization (Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Republic of Korea and Switzerland), submitted a joint communication calling for more transparency in respect of trade-related measures introduced by partners around the world in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The aim is to…

On July 1, 2020, the Federal Register published Presidential Proclamation 10053 of June 29, 2020 To Take Certain Actions Under the United States-Mexico–Canada Agreement Implementation Act and for Other Purposes, which modifies the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) – as set forth in Annex I to US International Trade Commission (USITC) Publication 5060 (which is incorporated by reference) to provide generally for the preferential tariff treatment being accorded under the USMCA, to…

On May 12, 2020, the Philippines component of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Investment Agreement (IA) between Hong Kong, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) entered into force. The FTA and IA entered into force between Hong Kong and Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in 2019. According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), under the FTA, the Philippines will progressively eliminate and reduce customs duties on goods…

On January 24, 2020, 17 WTO members issued a statement agreeing to establish a temporary system for appealing WTO disputes. They reached an agreement during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The WTO members include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Guatemala, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland and Uruguay. Canada and the EU had earlier established a separate interim appeals procedure. The statement indicated…

On January 13, 2020, the US Department of the Treasury announced that it had delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. In this Report, Treasury reviewed and assessed the policies of 20 major US trading partners. Treasury also assessed developments over the last several months with China and its currency practices. The announcement said: The Report concluded that while the currency practices…

On December 23, 2019, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice setting the US dollar procurement thresholds to implement certain US trade agreement obligations, as of January 1, 2020, for calendar years 2020 and 2021. Executive Order 12260 requires the USTR to set the US dollar procurement thresholds for application of Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (TAA; 19 U.S.C. 2511 et…