Commerce Secretary Ross Wants NAFTA Renegotiation by January

June 1, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross indicated Wednesday that the best time period to complete the North American Free Trade Agreement’s negotiation is by early January. By setting this window, the Trump Administration hopes to have the renegotiation done before both Mexico’s general elections and the 2018 U.S. Congressional elections (Reuters).

According to Ross, Mexico’s elections will make the approval of NAFTA more complicated because it needs Mexican congressional approval. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo also urged for a final deal by the end of this year (Bloomberg). In the U.S., presidential powers to negotiate trade deals that can accepted or rejected by Congress without amendments expires in July 2018, justifying the urgency of the Trump Administration

Ross also said Wednesday that the Commerce Department would impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Mexican sugar and Canadian softwood lumber as part of the renegotiations if settlements over the disputes are not achieved. The Mexican government subsidies sugar companies and Canadian lumber producers utilize government-owned land to produce, making it difficult for U.S. competitors to compete in both industries. Ross hopes to resolve both of these issues before the official modernization of NAFTA.

NAFTA negotiations will formally begin around August 16, following a 90-day period of domestic consultations with U.S. lawmakers, industry, and the public.

Stay up to date with all trade news, including updates on NAFTA, by following Mercatura Global on Twitter. As an advocate of free trade, Mercatura Global can counsel your company on how best to enter international markets and increase your export revenue. To develop your market entry strategy and identify strategic partners, contact Mercatura Global today.

2017 World Trade Week Kicks Off With President’s “E” Awards Ceremony

May 22, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

President Trump has proclaimed May 21-May 27 2017 as World Trade Week. In the proclamation, the President highlights the importance of trade expansion to the U.S.’s economic growth. Further, he declares commitment to breaking down trade barriers and opening up new markets for American exports.

He mentions that “robust trade” is critical to the economic strength of the U.S., and urges the recognition and celebration of the power of fair international commerce to bring benefits to our country). He focuses on the promotion of trade for U.S. manufacturers and small businesses, who he believes to be most affected by unfair trade practices.

Over this World Trade Week, the President urges Americans to celebrate the benefits of trade for the U.S. through trade shows, events, and educational programs.

The week kicked off today at the 2017 President’s “E” Awards ceremony, where U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross honored 32 U.S. companies that export goods and services This year, honorees included 26 small and medium-sized businesses as well as 11 manufacturers.

The “E” Award is the greatest recognition a U.S. entity can be awarded for making significant contributions to the expansion of U.S. exports. Today’s honorees were responsible for exporting about $2.2 trillion worth of goods and services in 2016 and supporting 11.5 U.S. jobs. For more information on the “E” award ceremony and the companies honored during the event, check out the Department of Commerce’s website.

Mercatura Global is an advocate of the expansion of U.S. exports. As a global trade consulting firm, we can assist your company in engaging in international trade and reaching a broader consumer base. If you are interested in tapping into global markets, contact Mercatura Global today to identify your export readiness and develop an expansion strategy.

Will New Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber Cause U.S.-Canada Trade War?

April 26, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced an increase in tariffs from 3% to 24% on softwood lumber imports from Canada. Most lumber companies in Canada are state-owned and subsidized by the Canadian government, and the U.S.-Canada dispute over softwood lumber is decades old (The New York Times). American mills recently filed a complaint, and the U.S. Commerce department responded by imposing a tariff equivalent to the subsidy amount (24%) on five Canadian companies. For all other Canadian lumber companies, the tariff rate was set at 20%.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claimed it had been a “bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations.” This statement also reflects President Trump’s complaints about Canada’s system of protections on its dairy industry, leading to unfair treatment of American dairy farm workers.

Both softwood lumber and the dairy industry were left out of the initial North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, so it is easy for the U.S. to bring up the issues without formal negotiations (Reuters).

In Canada, the country is considering some sort of aid package to the companies that will be hit by the tariff (Bloomberg). In Quebec, 60,000 people work in the forest-products industry, and the province is putting in place a program of loan and loan guarantees that is expected to be worth 300 million Canadian dollars.

In the past, disputes around the softwood lumber industry were always won be Canada. However, if it becomes a legal fight, it is likely that the process will take a few years to be settled. Stay up to date with current U.S.-Canada trade relations by following Mercatura Global on Twitter.

Vice President Pence Visits Japan for Inaugural Economic Dialogue

April 17, 2017  |  No Comments  |  by Nicole àBeckett  |  Blog

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso are meeting in Japan this Tuesday. It will be the first high-level economic dialogue between the two nations since President Trump’s inauguration in January.

According to White House officials, the primary goal of Pence’s trip to the Asia-Pacific is to reinforce regional security alliances and stress the U.S.’s commitment to economic engagement within the region. To that extent, Pence is expected to communicate that U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific trade partnership “shouldn’t be seen as a retreat from the region” (CNN).

In Tokyo, Vice President Pence will participate in a listening session followed by remarks to the U.S. and Japanese business community as part of the inaugural U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue. However, these discussions likely establish a framework for future discussion rather than negotiating a bilateral trade agreement.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to join Pence in Tokyo, and according to Bloomberg, Japanese officials are worried he may bring up disputed topics such as a weaker yen, trade imbalance and automobiles. Japan currently has the second-largest goods surplus with the U.S., causing the country to be vulnerable to the Trump administration’s potential trade policies.

Stay updated on the talks between Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso by following Mercatura Global on Twitter!

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