Weekly Trade Briefing: April 26-30, 2021

International Trade News

Trade Update • APRIL 30, 2021

Aweekly roundup of news reports, government announcements, and other information about current and emerging developments in international trade and customs compliance.

WTO Headquarters Building

WTO Reports Continued Progress on Trade Facilitation Agreement Implementation

Following discussions held earlier this month on the latest progress in implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement, a World Trade Organization update reports that its rate of implementation currently stands at 70.1% for the entire WTO membership. This figure equates to a 100% rate of implementation by developed members and 61% among those countries regarded as developing and least developed. The WTO expects that implementation of the TFA commitments will rise to more than 80% of all members by 2023.

Cotton Pickers in Xinjiang w/ Barbed Wire (Forced Labour Concept)

Challenges of Finding the Truth About Forced Labour Claims

Following up on a report last week that exports from Xinjiang to the United States surged 113% from a year earlier over the first three months to US$64.4 million—this despite a recent U.S. ban on products from the region—The South China Morning Post takes an in-depth look at why it’s so hard to find out the truth about forced labour claims in countries like China, where investigations are “never straightforward,” especially when they involve state-sponsored allegations, say experts.

Japanese Diet (Parliament)

Japan Ratifies RCEP, World’s Largest Free Trade Deal

On Wednesday, Japan’s parliament ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest free trade deal, signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries including China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The pact will come into effect 60 days after it is ratified by six of the ASEAN members and three of the other countries. To date, only Singapore and China have completed procedures for ratification, but the addition of Japan significantly raises the possibility that the RCEP could enter into force later this year.

Celeste Drake - Director of OMB “Made in America” Office

Biden Names First ‘Made in America’ Office Director

President Biden this week established a “Made in America” office within the White House Office of Management and Budget and named Celeste Drake, a veteran labour advocate who spent several years with the AFL-CIO as a trade specialist, to lead it. Biden has pledged to strengthen existing “Buy American” rules as he attempts to gain approval in Congress for a massive new infrastructure improvement plan. Among other things, the new office will review waivers to purchase goods from Canada and other countries outside the U.S.

Wheat Gluten

CITT Finds Dumped Wheat Gluten from Six Countries is Harming Canadian Producers

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal yesterday published its recent finding that the dumping of wheat gluten, originating in or exported from Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and Lithuania, has caused injury to the domestic industry. Accordingly, anti-dumping duties at rates ranging from 10.1% to 26.1% will continue being collected by the Canada Border Services Agency, which made a final determination of dumping on March 23. A statement of reasons is expected to be issued by the CITT by May 7.

EXIM Transformational Exports Program

EXIM Seeking Comments on Proposed Levels of Foreign Content in ‘Transformational’ U.S. Exports

As part of its renewed mandate, the Export-Import Bank of the United States is looking for stakeholder input regarding new content principles on ten categories of goods deemed to be “transformational” (e.g., artificial intelligence, wireless technologies, quantum computing, etc.). Under the new guidelines, full EXIM support would be available for such transactions having a U.S content level of 51% or more, down from the previous level of 85% for medium and long-term transactions.

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