Washington International Trade Association Hosts Annual Congressional Trade Agenda

On February 28, CT Strategies attended the Washington International Trade Association’s (WITA) annual Congressional Trade Agenda. During this event, held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Congressional trade leaders gave an overview of the Hill’s areas of focus in 2020. The off-the-record panel featured Senior Counsel and Advisers from both parties, representing both House and Senate congressional trade committees. This included Angela Ellard and Katherine Tai from the House Ways and Means Committee, and Nasim Fussell and Jayme White from the Senate Finance Committee.

Topics discussed included the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Phase One U.S. trade deal with China, and World Trade Organization (WTO) reform.

President Trump signed the USMCA on January 29, but Canada’s endorsement will be required for the agreement to be finalized. The USMCA notably includes provisions for intellectual property and digital trade, U.S. access to the Canadian dairy market, and new labor laws for automobile manufacturing in Mexico.  

The U.S.-China Phase One agreement included tariff cancellations on both sides, a commitment to increase purchases of American goods and services by at least $200 billion in the next two years, and stronger intellectual property protections. This goal may prove difficult to achieve as the economic challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak continue to expand.

The U.S. Trade Representative has accused the WTO Appellate Body of overstepping its position as a dispute settlement mechanism and called for reform. Potential WTO reforms raised include increasing efficiency in resolving cases and developing an approach to managing digital trade.

In 2020, CT Strategies will be watching the development of new trade relationships, the implementation of the USMCA, and the reform of the WTO. We invite you to sign up for our weekly border management news brief to remain up-to-date on the latest trade news at https://ct-strategies.ck.page/7700958bc2