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How is COVID-19 shaping the US-China trade dispute? Will the pandemic affect pending US trade remedy proceedings? What will happen to US international trade negotiations?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, significant

On January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed the “Economic and Trade Agreement,” commonly referred to by the parties as the Phase One agreement. US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the text in Washington, and the Vice Premier read aloud a congratulatory letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced December 13, 2019 that the US and China have reached a “historic and enforceable agreement” on a Phase One trade deal, though significant questions remain as to its terms and the future of the current US-China trade conflict. 

While the text of the agreement has

On December 12, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice proposing to impose tariffs of up to 100% ad valorem on a wide range of European products. If enacted, these proposed tariffs would escalate the US response to the European Union’s (EU) subsidization of Airbus, which the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body found to violate WTO rules. USTR has already imposed duties of 10% and 25% – effective October 18, 2019 – on a variety of European goods in response to these subsidies. USTR is currently seeking comments on the December 12 proposal with respect to both product coverage and duty rates, which must be submitted January 13, 2020.

USTR’s proposal to impose additional duties on European products follows recent developments in the decades-old dispute between the United States and Europe at the WTO. In particular, since the imposition of 10% and 25% duties on $7.5 billion of European goods on October 18, which followed an arbitral award permitting the United States to retaliate up to $7.5 billion, a WTO compliance panel determined that the EU had not ceased providing WTO-inconsistent subsidies to Airbus. Citing the compliance panel’s report and the “lack of progress in efforts to resolve this dispute,” USTR announced that it was initiating a process to assess whether it should subject additional European products to duties, and also whether it should increase tariff rates on products covered under the original $7.5 billion action.


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On Monday, the US Trade Representative (USTR) issued a notice proposing the imposition of up to a 100% tariff on $2.4 billion worth of French imports. This proposed tariff is the result of a Section 301 investigation which found that France’s Digital Services Tax is unreasonable, discriminatory, and restricts US commerce. The full Section 301

On October 2, 2019, an arbitrator of the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a decision on the level of countermeasures the United States (US) is authorized to impose to offset European Union (EU) subsidies in support of aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The arbitral award concluded the nearly 15-year-old dispute between the two parties, in which the

At a press conference on May 31, 2019, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced that China is going to establish an “unreliable entities list,” to which “foreign entities or individuals that do not obey market rules, deviate from the spirit of contracts, blockade or stop supplying Chinese companies for non-commercial reasons, and/or seriously damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies” will be added.[1]

MOFCOM’s announcement does not explicitly refer to the US Department of Commerce’s recent additions of Chinese entities to its Entity List, but the language it used at its press conference closely echoes the US Department of Commerce’s press statements for some of the Entity List designations. For example, regarding the background for establishing the “unreliable entities list,” MOFCOM has stated that some foreign entities who have stopped supplying Chinese companies have “endangered China’s national security and interests and threated the global industrial chain and supply chain security.”
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