On The Hill

Trade Update (June 15)

Jun 15, 2020 | SHARE  
Lighthizer on Capitol Hill
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer will testify on Wednesday (Jun. 17) before the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees. Lighthizer will discuss the Trump administration’s 2020 trade agenda.
To view the hearing advisory, click here.
To view the hearing details/video, click here.
Earlier this week, Lighthizer wrote a 14-page essay for Foreign Affairs magazine, and described the administration’s trade policy as a middle ground between globalism and protectionism.
To view his essay, click here.
The broader U.S. aluminum industry is working to persuade the Trump administration to not reimpose Section 232 tariffs on Canada.
Two U.S. primary aluminum producers, Century Aluminum and Magnitude 7 Metals, said in a letter to USTR Robert Lighthizer that Canadian imports have “surged” since the tariffs were removed and are threatening the viability of the U.S. primary aluminum industry.[1]
On Tuesday (Jun. 9), the Aluminum Association (AA) released a statement on the matter, and AA President Tom Dobbins said, “To the extent the industry has seen a ‘surge’ in foreign imports in recent years, it has been in flat-rolled aluminium products from countries receiving Section 232 product exclusions.
Many of these imports are the subject of ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases.”
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this issue, but facts are facts. Imports of primary aluminium from Canada today are consistent with long-term trends long pre-dating the imposition of Section 232 tariffs,” he added.
To view the AA’s statement, click here.
EU Members Ask for Tightened Steel Quotas
On Thursday (Jun. 11), Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Slovakia asked European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan to further tighten quotas on steel imports. They said the previous liberal approach has “put the future of the steel industry” in danger. 
Member countries would like the European Commission to transfer the “unused residual and country-specific quotas from the three first quarters to the residential quota of the last quarter.”[2]
To view the letter to Commissioner Hogan, click here.
Plywood Circumvention Probe
On Wednesday (Jun. 10), the Department of Commerce announced the initiation of an inquiry into whether hardwood plywood completed in Vietnam, using components from China, are circumventing the existing antidumping duty and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on plywood from China.
Commerce is also initiating a concurrent inquiry to determine whether these imports are covered by the scope of AD/CVD orders on plywood from China. It took action at the request of the Coalition of Fair Trade of Hardwood Plywood.
To view Commerce’s press release, click here.
U.S. – U.K. Trade
U.K. Trade Commissioner for North America Antony Phillipson said the U.S. and U.K. are working to complete a comprehensive trade agreement before the U.S. election in November.
“We want to do this very, very fast,” Phillipson said.[3]
The second round of talks between the two countries are slated to begin on Monday (Jun. 15).
Phillipson said it was a shared goal of the U.S. and U.K. to reach a deal before the election, however a few “difficult issues” remain.
Concerns over digital services taxes, agriculture markets, steel and aluminum tariffs, and Boeing-Airbus retaliation tariffs will likely need to be resolved between the two countries before a deal is finalized.
[1] Rodriguez, Sabrina & Palmer, Doug. “Seade sees himself as a ‘bridge’ for WTO members.” Morning Trade, 12 Jun. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/c8e32a59/wp_dDmwBtUyGkzMBL4SIPw?u=https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-trade/2020/06/12/seade-sees-himself-as-a-bridge-for-wto-members-788468
[2] Leali, Giorgio & Vela, Jakob Hank. “EU countries ask Brussels to tighten steel safeguards.” Politico Pro, 11 Jun. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/1dac0a8f/13jUZ-_lP06Y-nVDoMV6gg?u=https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2020/06/eu-countries-ask-brussels-to-tighten-steel-safeguards-3981466


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