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 Volume 24, Number 123                                                                                                                                  Monday, June 22, 2015

Trade Reports International Group


The Senate’s Turn Again

 The Senate tomorrow is expected to take its first votes – each requiring a minimum of 60 votes – on the latest versions of Trade Promotion Authority and the trade preferences legislation (WTD, 6/19/15).

 Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last Thursday filed cloture motions – to limit debate – on the stand-alone TPA bill (HR 2146) passed by the House earlier that day and on legislation (HR 1295) renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act and other preferences programs.

 Sen. McConnell added reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to the AGOA bill – HR 1295.  TAA passed the Senate in May as part of the TPA bill.  But it was voted down earlier this month by House Democrats seeking to kill TPA.  The latest TAA reauthorization measure also removes the Medicare sequestration cuts that was originally used as an revenue offset.  That pay-for was opposed by Democrats and has been replaced by a package of measures aimed at improving tax compliance.

 The bill reauthorizes TAA through June 30, 2021 and authorizes $450 million for training funds annually for fiscal years 2015 through 2021. It extends TAA benefits to workers, firms and farmers, including secondary workers.  It applies to workers in both the manufacturing and services industries.

 Also added was a measure aimed at making it easier for US companies to obtain relief under US antidumping and countervailing duty laws.  The Leveling the Playing Field Act – cosponsored by Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) – also is part of a separate customs and trade enforcement bill (HR 644).  That bill has passed the House and Senate, but must go to conference because of differences between the two versions.

 The two senators unsuccessfully tried to attach their bill to TPA when it was previously considered in the Senate last month.

Level the Playing Field

 The latest version would –

             ●          clarify that neither the Commerce Department nor the International Trade Commission is required to determine, or make any adjustments to, a countervailable subsidy rate or weighted average dumping margin based on any assumptions about information the interested party would have provided if it had complied with a request for information;

             ●          prohibits the ITC from determining there is no material injury or threat of material injury to a US industry from imports merely because the industry is profitable or its performance has recently improved;

             ●          prescribes additional economic factors for the ITC to evaluate when determining whether imports have caused or threatened material injury to a domestic industry and requires such factors to be evaluated within the context of the business cycle and conditions of competition that are distinct to the affected industry;

 ●          authorizes the administering authority, in valuing the factors of production to determine the normal value of merchandise exported from a nonmarket economy country, to disregard price or cost values if there is reason to believe or suspect that an input for the subject merchandise is subsidized or dumped;

             ●          reduces the burden on Commerce by reducing the number of voluntary respondents in order to ensure timely completion of the investigation or review and

             ●          applies the changes to goods from Canada and Mexico.

 The preferences legislation renews the African Growth and Opportunity Act program for another 10 years through September 30, 2025.  It also retroactively renews the Generalized System of Preferences program – which expired in 2013 – through 2017.

 HR 1295 also provides a 10-year renewal for two trade preferences programs for Haiti.

 In addition, the bill reduces tariffs on certain recreational performance outerwear by changing their tariff classifications.

       



What Foreign Investors Want in India

 What foreign investors in the new India want is a level playing field – where they are treated the same as Indian companies, visiting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at two events on Friday (WTD, 6/8/15).

 The history of access to the Indian market has been unsteady at best, the minister suggested.  But the new government of Prime Minister Modi is working to turn that around.  Mr. Jaitley told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute that political and labor attitudes are changing.  Opposition to foreign investment by opposition parties in Parliament is marginal at best and even that of trade unions is only symbolic.

 The Modi government is working hard to reduce the number of barriers to foreign investment which predominated in previous years.  The goal now is to review and approve foreign investments automatically or very quickly, the minister stated.  The government is scanning the laws already on the books for provisions that slow down the process.  The aim, he said, is to repeal as many provisions and as quickly as possible.  But barriers will not go away overnight, he stated.

 To make trade fairer, the finance minister told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, his government is gradually dis-investing in state-owned enterprises.  He noted that more and more mining operations are going private.  Even a major port in Kerala has been handed over to a private company.

 And India’s defense sector is rapidly opening to joint ventures and foreign participation.  For years investment was capped at 26 percent; today it is 49 percent with case-by-case approvals that go higher, Mr. Jaitley commented.  Ten years ago, the minister said, he would never have thought it possible.

Indian Heritage

 A novel move taken a few weeks ago in New Delhi is to equate a nonresident Indian’s investment on equal terms with a resident.  “Somebody who could be – whose great-grandfather was an Indian would be regarded as a resident investor.”

 In response to a query by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on what US firms can expect under the new government that is different from the old one, Mr. Jaitley said the goal is to create an enabling environment in his country – which will also contribute to long-lasting political and economic stability.

 Taxing indigenous companies and foreign investors the same – at 25 percent – is a key aspect of that endeavor, the minister commented.

 New Delhi also is working mightily to do away with the various secondary charges tacked on to corporate taxes.  They include state-to-state transport charges along with special taxes on services.

 Now at a growth rate of 7 percent, Mr. Jaitley suggested to the Council on Foreign Relations that economic growth would rise to between 8 percent and 10 percent over the next two to three years.  But the finance minster’s aim is to hold the rise at a manageable pace to steady financial markets.

 The result of all the reforms is that much-needed infrastructure development is on the move again, the minister stated.

 Some 25 years ago India was a closed economy, Mr. Jaitley commented – a big difference from where it is today.

 At a forum earlier last week, two members of Congress – Reps. George Holding (R-NC) and John Larson (D-Conn) – admitted that the potential for India under Prime Modi looked pretty phenomenal.  But for US businesses on the ground there, some of the old barriers persist.

 The North Carolina members said that India has to do more to get US small and medium sized business into the country.  It is not only the giant corporations that have expertise in big infrastructure development, he told a panel discussion on India sponsored by CQ/Roll Call.

 Mr. Holding is co-chair of the House India Caucus.

 Rep. Larson suggested that not much has changed in the country when it comes to protection of intellectual property – especially in the business software and film sectors.  Generic production of medicines by India also creates a particular problem in his state of Connecticut, he added.

       



Two More ML Category Reforms

 The latest two of the quickly diminishing number of Munitions List chapters awaiting review as to their appropriateness for continuing defense controls are now out for public comment (WTD, 5/18/15).

 Issued in the Federal Register on June 18 were State Department Munitions List chapters XIV – toxicological agents – and XVIII – directed energy weapons.  Comments on the two are due by July 6.

 Only three chapters remain undone – I, II and III – dealing with firearms, artillery projectors and ammunition.  Any changeovers in licensing procedures for them are unlikely, WTD was told.

 The proposed rules for toxicological agents would shift primary export licensing for small amounts used for research purposes.  Changes in the directed energy chapter are minimal, focusing on production equipment and testing of related articles.

 Final rules will be published this fall, according to officials.

 Commerce also announced recently that proposed changes in Category XII – fire controls, optical and guidance, range finder and related equipment, including night vision products – would likely undergo a second round of public comments before going final.

 

 Below is an up-to-date chart on the reform effort –


Category

interagency

proposed

final

implemented

     

I – firearms ●      

II – artillery projectors ●      

III – ammunition ●      

IV – launch vehicles, guided missiles, rockets, bombs, mines      ●        ●   ●   ●

V – explosives, propellants ●   ●   ●   ●

VI – vessels of war and special naval equipment ●   ●   ●   ●   

VII – tanks, military vehicles ●   ●   ●   ●   

VIII – aircraft, associated equipment ●   ●   ●   ●   

IX – military training equipment ●   ●   ●   ●

X – protective personnel equipment ●   ●   ●   ●

XI – military and special electronics ●   ●   ● ●

XII – fire controls, optical and guidance, range finder, equipment ●   ●    

XIII – auxiliary military equipment ●     ●   ●   ●

XIV – toxicological agents ●   ●   

XV – space systems, equipment ●   ●    ●     ●    

XVI – nuclear weapons design equipment ●   ●    ●    ●

XVIII – directed energy ●   ●   

XIX – gas turbine engines ●   ●    ●     ●   

XX – submersible vessels, equipment ●   ●    ●   ●


       



Mexico’s Request for Retaliation

 Geneva – Mexico on Friday requested the World Trade Organization to sanction its retaliation of some $713 million annually against the United States for continuing the outlawed country-of-origin labeling program (WTD, 6/18/15).

 Canada requested retaliation which amounts to $2.5 billion against the United States in the same case last Wednesday.

 Mexico’s request will come up for formal consideration at the Dispute Settlement Body meeting set for June 29.

 Last week the United States objected to Canada’s request saying that is was excessive – and the question was referred to WTO arbitration to be decided within 60 days.

       



An Australian/Canadian OTDS Idea

 Geneva – At the World Trade Organization last Friday Australia and Canada called for reducing the “space” between the present levels of entitlement for trade-distorting domestic support and the current levels of support in the United States, China, the European Union, India and Brazil in the ongoing Doha agriculture negotiations (WTD, 6/18/15).

 The joint proposal came a week after WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo’s discussed with trade envoys how to arrive at “landing zones” to discipline members’ overall trade-distorting domestic support.  The Director General suggested a common concept that would reduce current entitlements due to the large “space” between the existing limits and effective trade-distorting subsidies.

 The underlying rationale includes China, India and Brazil undertaking fresh commitments in OTDS even though they are currently exempt from the existing Doha ministerial mandates.  Both China and India have fiercely opposed any changes in the architecture for reduction commitments.

 Brazil, apparently, is open to considering the Director General’s proposal.  The United States, the EU, Australia and Japan are on the “same page” with the Director General, WTD was told.

A Big US Space

 In the paper Australia and Canada argue that that the space between the US’ most recently reported levels of total OTDS and its current Agriculture Agreement limit is $46 billion.  “This means that the United States could increase its trade-distorting domestic support under the farm bill by over four times what was reported in 2012 while still respecting this limit.”

 Regarding China, the paper says that the gap between China’s limit and its reported OTDS is $142 billion.  Therefore, China could increase its reported current trade-distorting support by eight times while still respecting its WTO accession commitments.

 But under the existing Doha ministerial mandates, China and India are excluded from reducing their de minimis support because of special and differential treatment flexibilities as mandated in the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.

 Australia and Canada admitted that their proposal would amount to changing the 2008 revised draft modalities.  But “at least from a technical perspective, this large and consistent binding overhang means that it is feasible and do-able to find a landing zone on OTDS that accommodates existing policies over the short to medium term while also improving disciplines on domestic support over the Uruguay Round,” the two Cairns Group members argued.

 Even a significantly re-calibrated outcome on OTDS would be a significant step forward as compared to the exiting Agriculture Agreement, Australia and Canada concluded.

       



Fisheries Subsidies

 Geneva – A group of industrialized and developing countries on Friday called for “effective and meaningful disciplines” to address fisheries subsidies in the Doha rules negotiations (WTD, 6/15/15).

 In a proposal circulated Friday, the group – Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, New Zealand, and Norway – offered six elements for arriving at fisheries disciplines –

 ●        prohibitions focusing on some of the most obvious subsidies around which all members should be able to agree to;

 ●        appropriate and effective special and differential treatment;

 ●        transitional arrangements;

 ●        a standstill provision;

 ●        transparency, monitoring and review provisions and

 ●        continuation of the fisheries subsidies reform process.

 The group argued that prohibition of certain subsidies to curb over-capacity and over-fishing is mandated in the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.  Subsidies for vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing must be brought under discipline, the five countries argued.  And special and differential treatment flexibilities should not be accorded to prohibited subsidies.

 The five nations suggested limited transitional arrangements to bring members’ current subsidy programs into conformity with the new disciplines.  But there should no transitional arrangements for prohibited subsidies provided to any vessel engaged in illegal fishing.

 The group suggested a standstill on new subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and over-fishing or from extending or enhancing existing harmful subsidies until complete disciplines are negotiated.

       



Around the Globe

             ●          China’s Ministry of Commerce made a preliminary ruling last month that Japanese and US companies are dumping optical fiber preforms and will impose provisional anti-dumping measures.  A probe, launched on March 19 in 2014, found that their dumping activities were damaging the interests of Chinese optical fiber producers, and that there was a causal link between the dumping and the damage caused.

 The ministry told domestic importers of the products to pay cash deposits to customs. The deposit rate ranges from 7.8 percent to 39 percent of the value of their imports.  Optical fiber preform is a piece of glass used to make optical fiber.

             ●          More than a year into an economic firestorm that is pushing Russia into its first recession in six years, the plenary session of Russia’s flagship economic forum in St. Petersburg was titled “Time to Act” the Moscow Times reported (WTD, 6/18/15).  With Western sanctions over Ukraine and fallen oil prices battering the economy, thousands of business executives, officials and experts gathered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week, looking for signals on what Moscow’s next step would be.

 Among the options: reconciliation with the West, root-and-branch economic and political reform, or an embrace of Chinese cash.  But President Vladimir Putin in his keynote speech Friday opted for none of the above, railing against the United States, ignoring calls for comprehensive reform, and playing down Russia’s much-mooted “pivot” to Asia.  Addressing a packed hall, Putin admitted that the Russian economy was shrinking, but radiated confidence that the country would weather the storm.

 “We have stabilized the situation, absorbed the negative short-term fluctuations, and are now making our way forward confidently through this difficult patch,” he said.  Flanked by businessmen from Bahrain, China, Argentina and Germany on the forum’s main stage, Putin trumpeted Russia’s openness to investment: “We are responding to the restrictions imposed from outside not by closing off our economy, but by expanding freedom and making Russia more open. This is not a slogan; this is the substance of our actual policies,” he said, without listing any specific measures to make this scenario more likely.

 Russian economic data, however, is bleak: The economy shrank by 2.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2015, and analysts expect a contraction of around 3 percent for the year in full. The ruble has lost more than one-third of its value against the U.S. dollar since last summer due to sanctions and falls in the price of oil, Russia’s main export.

             ●          Russia has threatened to seize Belgian assets in Russia in retaliation for Belgian seizures linked to the break-up of Russian oil firm Yukos, the EU Observer reported (see related report this issue).  The Russian foreign ministry said on Friday (19 June) that unless Belgium does a U-turn, it will “be forced to consider the adoption of adequate response measures against … the property of the embassy of Belgium in Moscow, as well as its legal entities.”

 It called Belgium’s actions an “openly unfriendly act, [a] gross violation of the universally recognised norms of international law.”  It also said the Belgian seizures threaten the “proper functioning of Russian institutions and entities” in Belgium.  The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, added the measures are designed to harm the image of Russia, which, also on Friday, is hosting top European CEOs at a business forum in Saint Petersburg.  The statements come after Belgian authorities froze the bank accounts of the Russian embassy to Belgium, its embassy to the EU, its mission to Nato, the state-owned Tass news agency, and Russian broadcasters VGTRK and Russia Today.  French authorities also confiscated Russian state accounts in 40 banks and some 10 Russian-owned buildings.

             ●        Cuba’s telecom company ETECSA has announced the setting up of 35 Wi-Fi public areas in early July throughout the island, which will increase local people’s access to the Internet, ACN reported (WTD, 6/15/15). ETECSA communications director Luis Manuel Diaz told Juventud Rebelde newspaper that the initiative will be implemented after some major adjustments are concluded at the center that will operate the Wi-Fi technology in order to guarantee the quality of the service.

 The wireless network will operate under the codename WIFI-ETECSA for all temporary or permanent users of the local Nauta.cu domain on cell phones, laptops or tablets.  The official explained that, in a first stage, the price of this service will be 2 convertible pesos (US$2) per hour on the Internet as of July 1, lower than before but still considered high, the official admitted.  Diaz said that this is not a new service, but a new way to access the service currently operating in public internet rooms set up by the company.

             ●         Australia Trade Minister Andrew Robb has arrived in India for negotiations on a free trade deal, AAP reported.  The trip is Mr Robb’s third visit to the subcontinent this year and the Abbott government hopes to ink a trade agreement by the year’s end.  India is Australia’s twelfth largest trading partner and two-way trade is worth approximately $15 billion.




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On the Web......

 

Africa


AGOA.  AGOA CSO Secretariat letter to members of Congress on the African Growth and Opportunity Act.  issued:  6/19/15.



Agriculture


Cuba.  Agriculture Department report on agricultural trade with Cuba.  (available at:  http://ers.usda.gov/media/1856299/aes87.pdf )  issued:  6/19/15.


Doha.  World Trade Organization summary of latest Doha agriculture negotiations.  (available at:  https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/agng_16jun15_e.htm )  issued:  6/16/15.



Asia-Pacific


TPP.  Libertarian Party statement on the TransPacific Partnership.  (available at:  http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/secretive-trans-pacific-partnership-trade-bill-lets-foreign-governments-and?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Libertarian%20Party&utm_content=20150619+MEDPR+TPP )  issued:  6/19/15.



Australia


China.  Chinese statement on the China-Australia free trade agreement.  (available at:  http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/newsrelease/significantnews/201506/20150601017782.shtml   )  issued:  6/19/15.



Brazil


US Trade.  Commerce Department statement on US trade with Brazil.  (available at:  http://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2015/06/brazil-continues-be-attractive-us-companies-says-andrews and  http://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2015/06/deputy-secretary-commerce-bruce-andrews-travels-brazil-participate-ceo-forum )  issued:  6/19/15.



Business


TTIP.  Summary of European Parliament hearing on data privacy and trade agreements.  (available at:  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20150617STO67427/html/Trade-agreements-how-to-ensure-they-comply-with-EU-data-protection-rules )  issued:  6/19/15.



China


Australia.  Chinese statement on the China-Australia free trade agreement.  (available at:  http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/newsrelease/significantnews/201506/20150601017782.shtml   )  issued:  6/19/15.



Cuba


Agriculture.  Agriculture Department report on agricultural trade with Cuba.  (available at:  http://ers.usda.gov/media/1856299/aes87.pdf )  issued:  6/19/15.



Doha Development Agenda


Agriculture.  World Trade Organization summary of latest Doha agriculture negotiations.  (available at:  https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/agng_16jun15_e.htm )  issued:  6/16/15.



European Union


GIs.  Opinion report to the

European Parliament on extension of Geographical Indications to non-food products.  (available at:  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-554.841&format=PDF&language=EN&secondRef=02 )  issued:  6/19/15.


Japan.  European Commission report on EU-Japan free trade negotiations.  (available at:  http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/june/tradoc_153541.pdf )  issued:  6/19/15.


Services.  European Union report on trade in services for April.  (available at:  http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-15-5227_en.htm )  issued:  6/19/15.


Trade Balance.  European Union report on trade with the world through 2014.  (available at:  http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/september/tradoc_122532.pdf )  issued:  6/19/15.


TTIP.  Summary of European Parliament hearing on data privacy and trade agreements.  (available at:  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20150617STO67427/html/Trade-agreements-how-to-ensure-they-comply-with-EU-data-protection-rules )  issued:  6/19/15.


TTIP.  European Commission summary of its TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership advisory committee meeting of May 26.  (available at:  http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/may/tradoc_153460.pdf )  issued:  6/19/15.



Intellectual Property


European Union.  Opinion report to the

European Parliament on extension of Geographical Indications to non-food products.  (available at:  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-554.841&format=PDF&language=EN&secondRef=02 )  issued:  6/19/15.


Labor


TPA.  AFL-CIO statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Fight-Continues-After-House-Passes-Bad-Trade-Deal-for-Workers )  issued:  6/19/15.


TPA.  Teamster’s Union statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://teamster.org )  issued:  6/19/15.



Services


European Union.  European Union report on trade in services for April.  (available at:  http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-15-5227_en.htm )  issued:  6/19/15.



Standards


TBT.   World Trade Organization summary of latest meeting of its Technical Barriers to Trade committee.  (available at: https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/mark_19jun15_e.htm)  issued:  6/19/15.



Trade Policy


FTAs.  White House blog on US exports to free trade agreement partners.  (available at:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/06/19/us-goods-exported-trade-agreement-partners-supported-32-million-jobs-2014 )  issued:  6/19/15.


Restrictions.  World Trade Organization report on members’ quantitative restrictions.  (available at:  https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/mark_19jun15_e.htm )  issued:  6/19/15.


TPA.  Saturday radio address by President Obama on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/06/20/weekly-address-creating-new-pathways-opportunity-americans-you )  issued:  6/20/15.


TPA.  AFL-CIO statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Fight-Continues-After-House-Passes-Bad-Trade-Deal-for-Workers )  issued:  6/19/15.


TPA.  The Latino Coalition statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://latinocoalition.com )  issued:  6/19/15.


TPA.  Public Citizen statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://citizen.org )  issued:  6/19/15.


TPA.  Flush the TPP statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=33602bebba8fb7dd6e71fb413&id=aec810efe8&e=5bba7fc491 )  issued:  6/20/15.


TPA.  Teamster’s Union statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://teamster.org )  issued:  6/19/15.


TPA.  NDN statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://ndn.org )  issued:  6/21/15.


TPA.  Center for Public Analysis in Trade and Health statement on Trade Promotion Authority.  (available at:  http://cpath.org )  issued:  6/21/15.


What we’re covering this week –

  Congress returns to town Tuesday from the Independence Day break with only about four weeks to get things done before the month-long August recess.  Two items on the agenda for this month are coming to agreement on a final customs facilitation and trade enforcement bill (HR 644) and reauthorization of the US Export-Import Bank.

 Here are some of the events we’ll be following:

             ●          Tuesday, the Woodrow Wilson Center sponsors a program on “Brand Africa” with speakers including Assistant US Trade Representative Florizelle Liser.

             ●          Acting Deputy US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler heads to Tokyo for more negotiations on bilateral market access for agriculture and autos under the TransPacific Partnership.

             ●          Wednesday, the Heritage Foundation sponsors a program with Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and Korean Ambassador Ho-Young Ahn.

             ●          The US Chamber of Commerce hosts a reception for General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong, who is visiting Washington this week.

             ●          Thursday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies sponsors a program on the outcomes of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue with speakers including Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Robert Dohner.

             ●          House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan headlines a Politico Playbook breakfast.

             ●          On Friday, the National Press Club sponsors a newsmaker program with Luxembourg Ambassador Jean-Louis Wolzfeld on his country’s priorities for during its presidency of the European Union.



Our  Blog


Updated:    7/5/15

 WTD’s

Friday Afternoon

Podcast

2015podcast0703.mp3

Straight talk.   

Click the highlighted text to hear snippets from WTD’s straight talk.

•  A brief intellectual exchange on trade between AFL-CIO President Richard Tumka and Peterson Institute for International Economics President Adam Posen heard March 18.

•  Here’s an impassioned response from trade critic Rep. Rosa DeLauro to a stock “blame it on China” response about why we need a TransPacific Partnership agreement given during a House Appropriations agriculture funding hearing by Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service Phil Karsting on March 19.

•  The sound of one hand clapping.  Here’s the applause President Obama got on March 9 when he spoke to the National League of Cities asking for their support for his trade policies.

•  Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch tells WTD that he will talk to his ranking Democratic Ron Wyden again on Trade Promotion Authority legislation, but  he is death on any proposal to make trade more difficult than it already is.

•  Comments by two veteran trade officials on secrecy in the TransPacific Partnership negotiations – first Chile Ambassador to the United States Juan Galbriel Valdes and then Taiwan Minister of Economic Development John Chen-Chung Deng.