Trade Update • August 31, 2023 S
afeguarding national security stands out as a primary focus in 2023, for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, underscoring the evolving trajectory of U.S. trade policy.
According to a recently release report by the USTR, trade enforcement encompasses a broad range of activities including facility-specific rapid response labor mechanism actions under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), state-to-state dispute settlement, and section 301 investigations and actions. Trade enforcement also includes the monitoring of trade agreements, engagement in bilateral, plurilateral, multilateral, and regional fora (such as committees of the World Trade Organization), and direct engagement with trading partners on key trade barriers.
Preserving U.S. National Security Rights
For over 70 years, the United States has held the clear and unequivocal position that issues of national security cannot be reviewed in WTO dispute settlement and the WTO has no authority to second-guess the ability of a WTO Member to respond to a wide-range of threats to its security.
China and other WTO Members have recently chosen to pursue legal challenges to U.S. national security measures in the WTO. USTR has been clear – and will continue to be clear – that the United States will not cede decision-making over its essential security to WTO panels. The Biden Administration remains committed to preserving U.S. national security, including by protecting human rights and democracy across the globe. The United States government has a responsibility to protect the security of its citizens and, as a nation, we are responsible for our security commitments to allies and partners. Neither of these responsibilities can be abridged by the WTO inserting itself into issues of national security. The United States intends to continue raising this fundamental issue until necessary steps are taken to ensure our national security rights remain intact.
Enforcement of USMCA
Enforcement of the USMCA is essential to ensuring that Canada and Mexico fully implement the agreement and live up to their commitments. Actions undertaken to date under USMCA have been focused on Mexico, addressing matters such as labor rights in Mexican factories, illicit fishing, energy regulations, and limitations on genetically-engineered products e.g. corn.
The United States continues to challenge Canada’s revised dairy tariff rate quota allocation measures, demonstrating the Administration’s commitment to ensuring that U.S. dairy producers receive the full benefits of the USMCA to market and sell U.S. products to Canadian consumers.
Read the full report and details on other trade priorities of US Customs here.
Questions about CBP’s trade priorities and if your goods are affected? We are always here to help, contact us.