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What's Next for Trade: A Conversation with POLITICO Pro Reporters

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POLITICO Pro Trade reporters Doug Palmer and Sabrina Rodriguez participated in a call moderated by Pradnya Joshi where they updated subscribers on what to expect in the coming months on trade issues. 

Read below for the top takeaways you should know to stay one step ahead, written by Pradnya Joshi.


1.  The U.S. China Trade Talks are Taking a Go-Slow Approach

The U.S. is pressing China to make significant structural changes, which will take time. Indeed, President Donald Trump said the day after our Pro subscriber call that he wouldn’t be surprised if Chinese leaders decide to wait until after the 2020 elections to see if they can get a better deal from a new president. So far, it doesn’t seem as if the president will impose tariffs on the final $300 billion in Chinese imports before the year is over because those duties would disproportionately hit consumers. 


2. USMCA Negotiations are Taking Longer Than the Administration Would Like

Democrats have a very good rapport with the U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, whom they say has been listening to their concerns. Although he is well-liked, Democrats are still waiting to see how Lighthizer will actually make changes to the agreement. It is highly unlikely that Lighthizer will open up the text for renegotiation but he has not offered up what means he will use to strengthen the deal to address the Democrats’ criticisms.


3. Trump Administration is Toughening its Attacks on the WTO

The Trump Administration does not seem to be budging on its refusal to appoint judges to the Appellate Body, which will cease functioning as of mid-December because it won’t have enough judges to hear disputes. And on Friday, the president directed the U.S. trade representative to use “all available means” to change the WTO policy that allows countries to designate themselves as developing nations, which affords them leniency on certain rules and obligations.


The U.S. trade representative also has a busy calendar for the next five months negotiating with Japan, the European Union, digital services tax issues and a host of other trade matters. Doug outlines what we’ll be watching in this article.

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