Trade Update (December 7)
|Remembering President George H.W. Bush (41st US President)
This week, Washington, D.C. took time to honor the life of former President George H.W. Bush, who died last Friday night at the age of 94. From Monday until Wednesday morning, the former president laid in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, and thousands of Americans came to pay their respects. On Wednesday morning, a motorcade took President Bush’s body to the National Cathedral, where former colleagues, family, and friends held a memorial service which included a eulogy from his son, former President George W. Bush. On Wednesday evening, President George H.W. Bush’s casket was flown to Texas, and a funeral service was held in Houston, Texas before a train took his remains to its final resting place at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station.
US – China Trade Relations
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for dinner on the sidelines of the G-20 on Saturday (Dec 1). The White House statement said it was a “highly successful meeting.”
China agreed to designate Fentanyl, a lethal synthetic opioid, as a controlled substance. Under this designation, anyone who sells Fentanyl to the US will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law. In addition, China agreed to purchase a “substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other produces from the US to reduce the trade imbalance between” the two countries. China will begin purchasing American agricultural products immediately.
President Trump agreed to delay the 15% tariff increase on $200 billion worth of goods, which was scheduled to take effect on January 1.
Both countries agreed to begin negotiations on structural changes to address forced technology transfer, IP protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber threat, services and agriculture. They aim to conclude the negotiations within 90 days. However, if no agreement is reached, the 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will be increased to 25%. The US and China also agreed that “great progress has been made with respect to North Korea” and the two leaders will work together to achieve a nuclear free Korean Peninsula.
In addition to the signing of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the US and China agreeing to a 90-day trade war truce, the G-20 was largely successful. The G-20 leaders (including President Trump) issued a joint declaration at the conclusion of the summit on Saturday (Dec 1). Of the 31 articles in the declaration, three referenced trade and its broader impact on the global system in terms of uncertainty in trade wars, how it is changing in the increasingly digital world, and how “international trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation, and development.” Leaders also agreed the WTO needs to be reformed and outlined a review process for the next G-20 summit in Japan.
US – Japan Trade Agreement Hearing
The Office of the US Trade Representative will hold a hearing on Monday, December 10. Witnesses will include meat and dairy producers, software and technology firms, representatives from the auto, fashion, and pharmaceutical industries. Written comments were due on Monday, November 26.
 “Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the President’s Working Dinner with China.” WhiteHouse.gov, 1 Dec 2018. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-regarding-presidents-working-dinner-china/
 “G20 Leaders’ declaration Building consensus for fair and sustainable development.” G20.org, Argentina, https://g20.org/sites/default/files/buenos_aires_leaders_declaration.pdf
 “Public Hearing on Negotiating Objectives for US-Japan Trade Agreement.” USTR, 7 Dec 2018. https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2018/december/public-hearing-negotiating