Issue 56| November 26, 2014
U.S. trade talks with China focus on negotiating a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced that the U.S.'s focus with China is on creating a high-standard BIT that would leave everything open in China except for a few specially listed things.  China has already signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with Australia this past week, and South Korean and China announced their plans to conclude a Free Trade Agreement as well.  With China's increasing involvement in trade agreements and new shown interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is more important than ever for Obama and Congress to cooperate on important trade initiatives. Read more.
 
Mexico expresses support for Asia-Pac FTA  
Mexican President Enrique Pe�a Nieto strongly supports trade and has expressed that Mexico can offer its expertise on free trade agreements in regards to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).   The vision for the FTAAP was first formed in 2004 and has since been proposed as a high quality comprehensive agreement that would build on the existing agreements in the Asia Pacific such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Association of Southeast Nations Economic Community. Read more.
 
Turkey needs U.S. support to be engaged in TTIP 
The Turkish business sector is seeking to engage Ankara in the expected gathering of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opened an office in Istanbul. This is the second overseas office after Brussels. TTIP talks, which started between the U.S. and E.U. in July of 2013, are still ongoing. There is a concern that $3 billion in trade will vanish if Turkey is not included in TTIP. Ankara warned it will suspend its European Union Customs Union membership unless the trade deal between the E.U. and U.S. will engage Turkey. The Head of Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges commented there are opportunities for the U.S.-Turkey relationship to grow and in turn to help grow their private sectors. Read more.
 
The harsh reality of Obama's agreements in Asia
President Barack Obama's recent trip to Asia has resulted in a climate agreement with Beijing to cut carbon emissions, a system of notifying military movements with China, tariff cuts on IT equipment with China, and a declaration of a close conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).   Although all these negotiations sound promising, it will be near impossible for Obama to follow through on any of them.  Obama's climate agreement will meet with strong opposition in Congress, the military agreement won't prevent build up of forces in China, and the IT agreement will not stop the overall chill of foreign investments in China.  Meanwhile there are still serious agreement issues with Japan on the TPP and a general political regression in the Asian region. Read more.
 
Seoul seeking entry into TPP
Han Duck-Soo, head of the Korea International Trade Association and a former South Korean ambassador to the United States, seeks to push Seoul into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The Korean Government and some manufacturing sectors are doubtful about joining the trade plan which remains as an obstacle to Seoul's entry into the TPP. They fear increased competition from Japan and Mexico. Han supported the cause of Korea-U.S. free trade agreement and wants to ensure Korea's TPP participation. During the meeting with the Chamber, Han wants to establish the fact that involving Korea in the TPP will benefit the U.S. economy.  Now there is more support for trade liberalization and the government will actively participate to reduce the impact of any negative effects from trade. Read more.
 
U.S. trade official hopeful on fast-track power 
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman seeks bipartisan support that will give the White House the power to fast track trade deals. Congress has not yet decided a Trade Promotion Authority Bill, and trading partners are not willing to put up offers if Congress will later pick the deal apart.  USTR officials were working alongside with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to create a bill that will have bipartisan support. Manufacturers stated Congress should pass legislation to slash tariffs on raw materials and inputs for U.S. made products.  Any delay will cost $748 million dollars for factories in taxes over the next three years. Read more.
 
Compiled by Global Initiatives Interns Michelle Dong and Ranika Perera .

For more information, contact Aaron Borboa, 213.580.7583.