Issue 57| January 23, 2015
Obama pushes for trade promotion authority and cooperation on the TPP in annual State of the Union address
In the State of the Union address this week, the President called on Congress to grant trade promotion authority to "protect American workers" and "level the playing field" against countries such as China. Trade promotion authority, also known as fast track, will prevent Congress from changing any aspects of any free trade agreements sent to them for ratification by the White House. This push for trade promotion authority comes at a crucial time for Obama in regards to the current Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. TPP negotiations would establish rules on everything from the environment to drug patents, covering nations with a third of world trade.  The President argued that "China wants to write the rules for the world's fastest-growing region," but that "we should write those rules," in an attempt to convince critics of free trade that it is crucial for America's success to expand international trade. Read more.
 
Argentina considering bilateral negotiations with the U.S., EU, and Japan
In August 2014, the World Trade Organization upheld their ruling criticizing Argentina's protectionist trade policies. As a result, cabinet chief, Jorge Capitanich, says Argentina will be examining the ruling carefully and is open to have talks with the complainants, U.S., European Union, and Japan. Argentina's central bank owes importers around $5.5 billion, but a currency swap with China over a time span of three years has allowed the government to increase their reserves. U.S. trade with Argentina in the 11 months through November is estimated to be worth $11 billion. Read more.
 
TPP negotiations will resume soon in New York
Chief negotiators from 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) met in Washington earlier this month to conclude an agreement as soon as possible, and have agreed to meet in late January. The largest remaining obstacles include intellectual property, reforming state-owned firms, fair business practices, and prohibitory tariffs on agricultural products, the latter of which is the target of ongoing U.S.-Japan bilateral negotiations. The agreement will, upon its signing, create a free trade area encompassing nearly 40 percent of the world economic output. Read more.
 
Pharmaceutical companies hope for resolution in U.S.-India feud 
As President Obama prepares to visit India next week, pressure is mounting on him and Indian Prime Minister Modi, to resolve the feud in the pharmaceutical sector. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accused Indian drug makers of intellectual property rights violations while India has been denying patents to U.S. and other foreign-based pharmaceutical companies. This has led to India being placed on a priority watch list of countries that infringe U.S. patent law, and more U.S. companies' patent requests being rejected, allowing local Indian drug makers to produce unlicensed versions of the drugs. The heads of state are expected to discuss the topic. Read more.
 
New era in U.S.-Cuban trade relations begins with more change on the horizon
Last month's U.S.-Cuba deal was fully implemented on January 16th, putting a large dent into the U.S. embargo against Cuba's government. The new rules allow U.S. citizens to use credit cards in Cuba, businesses to export mobile phones and software, and investment in some small businesses and agricultural operations. Meanwhile, a group of 18 house democrats have introduced legislation to end the economic embargo on Cuba including Los Angeles' representative Karen Bass, who argued "lifting the embargo against Cuba will provide a direct benefit to Americans." Read more.
 
2015 will be a pivotal year for EU-U.S. trade agreement says Britain's Cameron 
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron met to discuss the importance of making significant progress in 2015 on the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. At a news conference following the meeting, Cameron said that the two leaders believe that this year will be "pivotal" for the ongoing negotiations between Europe and the U.S. Read more.
 

Boosting California and China Trade, Feb. 18

 

Join the Global Initiatives Council for the first session of the year as we hold a special round- table discussion with the newly appointed executive director of the California-China Office of Trade and Investment Ken Petrilla. 
 

Register Now! 

Compiled by Global Initiatives Interns Michelle Dong and Benjamin Smith.

For more information, contact Aaron Borboa, 213.580.7583.