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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…

On 8 November 2019, the European Commission announced that EU Member States endorsed the trade agreement between the EU and Singapore allowing the EU’s first agreement with a Southeast Asian country to enter into force as soon as 21 November. According to the announcement: Singapore is by far the EU’s largest trading partner in the Southeast Asian region, with total bilateral trade in goods of over €53 billion and another €51 billion of trade in…

The entry into force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) brings with it preferential import tariff rates applicable to CPTPP originating goods. Import tariffs can amount to a substantial increase on the end cost of goods. For businesses operating in a competitive market, preferential tariff rates may afford them a comparative advantage by reducing costs. Under the CPTPP, tariff rate reductions occur automatically after the Agreement has entered into force in a member country’s territory. Accordingly, exporters of most CPTPP originating goods can enjoy preferential tariff rates immediately.

On January 19, 2019, Global Affairs Canada reported that the inaugural Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission meeting was successfully concluded. The CPTPP Commission, consisting of representatives from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam (the countries for which the CPTPP has entered into force), met in Tokyo, Japan and concluded their session by issuing a Ministerial statement. The Commission meeting allowed CPTPP countries to chart a course for next steps as well as agree on a framework for the accession of new members. The Ministerial Statement follows: