Current Trade Matters - March 2021

Topics of this issue: the President's Trade Agenda of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and an update on the EU-China economic relations
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USTR 2020 Agenda on new Administration

The Office of the United States Trade Representative presented the President’s Trade Agenda and the 2020 Annual Report.

Some of the main targets for the future period besides tackling the COVID-19 pandemic are investment in sustainable infrastructure and clean energy, expand innovation and industry at home, and the promotion of a fair international trading system. The latter point is to be achieved through active engagement with bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

The key facts spreadsheet can be found here.
The full report can be read here.

U.S. Commission on AI Strategy

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence published its recommendations to the United States Congress in its report.

The report highlights the necessity for the development of a strategy for the U.S. to find areas of international cooperation in the following points:

  • Boost competitiveness and innovation in AI in form of investment, infrastructure and technology development
  • Promote talent in STEM fields
  • Enforce and develop institutional frameworks that safeguard US national security interests and frameworks that protect business and property rights
  • The expansion of international rules-based order to protect and strengthen alliances in this field and establish an ‘‘international technology order’’

An overview of the Final Report can be found here.

USTR Katherine Tai on US-China Tariffs

Since her Senate confirmation, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has announced that a lift on tariffs will not happen in the near future as there are adjustments to be undertaken between the actors involved that promote them from unfair foreign competition. Nevertheless, trade negotiations between Washington, D.C. and Beijing might occur in the future.

All the details can be read here.

EU-China Economic Relations - EU sanctions on China for the first time in 30 years

On March 22, the EU imposed sanctions on China due to human right violations in the Xinjiang province. This is the first time in 30 years that such an action occurs between the two economic areas. The effect of this decision has led many factions in the European Parliament to decide against the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between the EU and China, which is still in the pending process of ratification.

The recent decision on sanction has underlined the larger problem among stakeholders and decision-makers, namely how businesses and trade suffer distinct levels of unfair competition and the necessity of enforcing a fair level playing field. Some European countries, such as France, do want to reflect a hardline stance but also pursue the CAI.

Read the full article here.

U.S.-EU Suspension of Tariffs regarding Airbus-Boeing Dispute

In an effort to restart the U.S.-EU trade relations, both economic areas have declared a four-month suspension of tariffs for the aircraft companies Airbus and Boeing. This suspension marks a confident step on further trade engagement between the U.S. and the EU and the paradigm shift of seeing traditional allies as trade partners and not rivals.

The article can be found here.


Heather Liermann

Head of Department

Membership Engagement & Development