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USTR Releases Trade Policy Agenda & Annual Report

March 2, 2020

 


USTR Releases Trade Policy Agenda & Annual Report 


Each year, USTR is required to submit to Congress a Trade Policy Agenda for the coming year along with a report on trade activities for the past calendar year. These reports were issued by USTR on Friday and can be found here.

Historically, the agenda is a political document, highlighting the overall approach to trade policy taken by the Administration, while the report on the previous year is a more methodical description of work accomplished by USTR in specific bilateral, regional and WTO contexts. This year’s reports follow that trend with the agenda containing a detailed discussion of the Administration’s preference for bilateral negotiation, unilateral use of tariffs and grave concerns about the WTO as an institution (see pages 1-3 for the executive summary). Notably, the agenda highlights plans to negotiate new trade agreements with the UK, the EU and Kenya, further negotiations with Japan for a comprehensive trade agreement, and a Phase Two Agreement with China. Interestingly, no mention of an agreement with India appears in the agenda documents.

The agenda also includes a significant discussion of the US efforts to reshape the WTO. The agenda summarizes the Administration’s appraisal as follows: “It is difficult now, twenty-five years after its inception, to declare the WTO a success for American interests. Indeed, the organization in many ways ignores and enables unbalanced trade and unfair trade practice.”

Once these documents are issued, it is traditional for the USTR to appear before both the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing on the USTR’s agenda for the coming year. We understand that the Committees are actively trying to schedule those hearings for March.

For more information, contact Vanessa Sciarra at vsciarra@nftc.org