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Bush Administration Submits Annual Trade Report to Congress

 

WASHINGTON DC – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today announced the release of its 2007 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), which details significant barriers to U.S. trade and investment and the broad array of U.S. actions to reduce and eliminate those barriers.

 

“This report reflects the success of the Administration’s pro-growth, market-opening trade agenda.  However, a significant amount of work remains to knock down trade barriers and ensure that American exporters have new economic opportunities across the globe,” said U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab.  “The report demonstrates that the Administration continues to use all enforcement tools at its disposal to ensure fair treatment in the global marketplace for U.S. workers and consumers.”

 

The annual report, delivered to Congress on March 30, as required by statute, lays out successes and ongoing efforts to eliminate trade barriers and unfair trade practices U.S. exporters of industrial goods, agricultural products, and services face in 63 major trading partners.  Some notable successes in these efforts in 2006 include: 

 

 Bilateral agreements signed in connection with World Trade Organization (WTO) accession negotiations with Russia and Ukraine that provide access for U.S. exporters of products ranging from frozen pork to leased aircraft. 

 

·        China removed anti-dumping duties on kraft linerboard as the United States prepared to seek WTO dispute resolution consultations on the issue.  

 

·        At the April 2006 Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, the government of China agreed to increase intellectual property rights (IPR) protection for software by requiring the pre-loading of operating system software on all computers produced or imported into China, as well as to require government agencies to purchase computers with pre-loaded software.

 

Japan introduced a new leniency system to encourage companies to report illegal cartels and construction bid rigging schemes that effectively impede market access for U.S. companies. 

 

The United States resolved a number of long-standing sanitary and phytosanitary and technical standards issues with Peru, Colombia, Panama, and CAFTA-DR countries through agreements reached in 2006 covering trade in meat, poultry, rice, dairy, and other processed foods.

 

The European Union agreed on a package of bilateral market-opening actions for U.S. exports of fish, chemicals, agricultural products, and other items designed to offset tariff increases that U.S. products faced when ten new countries joined the European Union in March 2006.  A similar agreement was reached with the European Union providing market-opening actions regarding services.

 

Conclusion of bilateral WTO market access agreements with Vietnam, Ukraine and Russia, which will result in substantial new market access for goods and services, when these countries join the WTO.  Vietnam became a WTO member in January 2007, and work continues with Ukraine and Russia.  

The NTE report also details areas where the Administration will continue to seek reductions in trade barriers and fight for the fair application of global trading rules.  Some priority areas for improvement include:

 

Enforcing IPR in China:  The United States has made it clear that formal WTO consultations will be necessary without concrete actions by China in this area. Sales of infringing goods displace legitimate goods and reduce U.S. access to China’s market and other markets affected by China’s infringing exports.  Inadequate IPR enforcement affects a wide range of products, including films, music, published materials, software, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, information technology, consumer goods, industrial goods, food products, medical devices, electrical equipment, automotive parts, clothing and footwear.

 

Eliminating trade-distorting subsidies to Airbus: The United States will continue to press its WTO case against Europe’s trade-distorting subsidies to aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus.

 

Addressing China’s Prohibited Subsidy Practices: The United States requested WTO dispute resolution consultations with China on that country’s apparent use of prohibited export and import substitution subsidies that hurt small and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers and their workers and a WTO panel on its discriminatory treatment of imported auto parts.  In 2007, the Administration will vigorously continue to pursue resolution of these issues.

 

Providing fair treatment for wine and distilled spirits: The United States requested WTO consultations on India’s discriminatory taxes on wine and distilled spirits and will push for fair treatment for U.S. vintners and distillers in this large and growing market. 

Background:

 

The Office of the United States Trade Representative works closely with other agencies in the U.S. government, including our embassies abroad, to prepare the NTE report, a document required by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.  Information used in preparing the report is gathered from the Administration's monitoring program, from members of the public, and from private and public sector trade advisory committees.  These issues are also discussed in detail in meetings with Members of Congress throughout the year.       

Next week, the USTR will announce the results of the Section 1377 Review, a report that focuses on the barriers facing U.S. telecommunications services and equipment providers, and lays out the specific telecommunications-related issues on which USTR will focus its efforts this year.  Thirty days after the NTE report is submitted to Congress, the USTR will issue its "Special 301" annual report on the adequacy and effectiveness of IPR protection by our trading partners around the world.  The information gathered for the NTE report plays a key role in the decision making process in both of these reports.