Issue 88 | Sept. 22, 2017
Lighthizer Lays Out His 'Proactive' Trade Philosophy
On Monday, Sept. 18, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer delivered a 40-minute speech expounding the Trump administration's reformed vision for global commerce. Lighthizer provided no certainty for the future of NAFTA, claiming that negotiations with Canada and Mexico are "moving at warp speed," but that the deal's fate remains uncertain. Lighthizer defended President Trump's use of trade deficits as a barometer for measuring success, though most economists disagree with this measurement. Lighthizer also critiqued the World Trade Organization for its inability to manage China and its hyper-mercantilist policies. He said that China poses an "unprecedented" threat to global trade due to its policies and its manipulation of markets. Read more.
U.S. Trade Representative Heralds Renegotiation of Korea Trade Deal
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer indicated on Monday, Sept. 18 that the United States-Korea Trade Agreement, also known as KORUS, will be subject to renegotiation. An attempt to renegotiate was made in late August but no significant progress was made, and talks stalled. While the United States does suffer a $23.3 billion deficit in the trade of consumer goods with South Korea, Seoul cited the U.S.' $14.09 billion surplus in services trade. The Trump administration, though, is committed to a new trade philosophy, and is being driven by trade deficits toward restructuring past deals. Read more.
Brexit Britain will have to wait for its U.S. trade deal, Trump's trade representative warns
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced on Monday, Sept. 18 that the United Kingdom (UK) would be required to wait for a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S. This comes after a promise earlier made by President Trump that a post-Brexit trade deal would come quickly. In contrast, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced hours earlier that they would forge a new agreement quickly after the UK leaves the European Union (EU). They plan to use the EU-Canada trade agreement, also known as Ceta, as a framework for a transition toward a new UK-Canada deal. As the UK plans to leave the EU in March 2019, May is visiting trading partners in order to ensure that trade deals can be struck as soon as the UK leaves the bloc. Read more.
Canada's NAFTA Upgrade Calls for Improved Worker Rights in U.S. and Mexico
Amidst the NAFTA renegotiations, Canada has added a new request to its list released in August. Canada is requesting that the United States and Mexico repeal any "right-to-work" laws, which allow workers represented by unions to opt out of paying their dues. In the U.S., 28 of 50 states currently have "right-to-work" laws in place. These laws pose a direct threat to the union model because they deprive unions of funding. Jerry Dias, who is a representative of Canada's largest private sector union, said that Canada is calling upon Mexico to address its inadequate labor standards and lack of paid family leave. Mexico is among a diminishing number of countries that does not ensure paid family leave to workers. Canada stated that companies should compensate their workers equally across the three countries. Read more.
House, Senate Dems urge action on international labor law violations
Four leading congressional Democrats co-wrote a letter to prominent individuals involved with labor and international affairs in the Trump administration demanding that they enforce international labor standards. "Without enforcement," said the congressmen, "American workers are forced to compete against imports made with slave and child labor, or otherwise produced by workers facing deplorable conditions overseas." Among other actions, the congressmen requested that the Trump administration cease its cuts to labor enforcement staff and take action against countries that fail to comply with international labor standards. The lawmakers noted Trump's campaign rhetoric regarding protecting American workers, as they see their goals as identical. Read more
Japan emerging as a leader on trade liberalization, says APEC official Alan Bollard
As President Trump continues to espouse protectionist rhetoric regarding global commerce, Japan is placing itself at the forefront of global free trade. Japan will host the 11 countries remaining as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) later this month in order to discuss a new deal without the United States. A deal without the U.S. will be difficult because one of the major incentives for countries to join the TPP was access to the U.S. market. There is some hope, though, that a future American presidential administration will allow the U.S. to be party to the deal. Japan is also in the process of forging a trade deal with the European Union, which may be completed within months. Read more.
Export Documentation Briefing
Oct. 3, 2017

Join the L.A. Area Chamber in partnership with the District Export Council of Southern California and Global Registrations Inc. to learn what export documentation you need and solutions from expert speakers. RSVP here.

Los Angeles: A Global City
Oct. 18, 2017
Join the Global Initiatives Council to meet the newly appointed Deputy Mayor of International Affairs from the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, Amb. Nina Hachigian, for a discussion on future objectives. RSVP here.

Compiled by Center for Global Trade & Foreign Investment intern Maverick Freedlander.

For more information, contact Jasmin Sakai-Gonzalez, 213.580.7569.