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September 14, 2020

Make Your Voice Heard On U.S. Trade Policy

On September 10, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, announced that is wants input for its annual “National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers,” a report which will cover trade barriers and market access issues in China and an additional 60 specific countries and regions.

As USTR describes it, the NTE “sets out an inventory of the most significant foreign barriers affecting U.S. exports of goods and services, including agricultural commodities, U.S. intellectual property, U.S. foreign direct investment by U.S. persons, especially if such investment has implications for trade in goods or services, and U.S. electronic commerce.” The report “facilitates U.S. negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers and is a valuable tool in enforcing U.S. trade laws and strengthening the rules-based trading system.”

USTR has outlined ten categories of foreign trade barriers, including import and export policies, technical barriers to trade, subsidies, competition challenges, and barriers to digital trade. Interested parties have until October 29, 2020 to comment.

Additionally, back in June, the U.S. International Trade Commission launched an investigation into how free trade agreements impact the U.S. economy. The USITC is required to prepare two reports on the economic impact on the United States of all trade agreements under the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. The USITC released the first report in June 2016. On October 6 at 9:30 a.m. ET, the USITC will hold a hearing to get input from the public. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed electronically by September 21 at 5:15 p.m. EDT; prehearing briefs or statements should be filed by September 25; an electronic copy of witness testimony must be filed by 12 p.m. EDT on October 2; post-hearing briefs or statements should be filed by October 23; and all other written submissions must be filed by November 6.

The ITC also has launched an investigation into supply chain challenges during COVID-19 that will examine key U.S. industry sectors producing COVID-related goods and include case studies on key products within each relevant industry sector, including products for which there were reported shortages in the first half of 2020. The ITC will hold a public hearing on this matter on September 23 at 9:30 a.m. EDT.