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Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director of Government Relations
|ASA Advocacy Briefed by White House on Phase One Trade Deal
Last week ASA Advocacy had a phone call with the White House Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison pertaining to the U.S. and China phase one trade deal. The call was an update for on the trade deal and a brief on what exactly it entails.
In August of 2017, the Trump administration started an investigation into China’s 301 practices of intellectual property and other significant trade issues the U.S. has with China. The phase one trade deal is the first implementation at resolutions to these issues. It concentrates on China’s structural reforms in areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange.
In the areas of intellectual property and technology transfer, the deal secures obligations by China to be transparent and ensures fair process procedures for getting into the China’s market and other general provisions, which are enforceable. Previously, China had required foreign firms who want to enter certain industries, such as energy, telecommunications and autos, to form joint ventures with local partners, which often results in the transfer of technology to the Chinese companies.
The agriculture provisions in the deal address reform and reduce barriers to the agriculture market in China. The deal also has a finical service provision, which addresses banking and credit services to level the playing field for American companies. This will allow American companies to better engage in China.
The agreement includes a strong dispute resolution system to ensure effective implementation and enforcement. It establishes a hotline with a rapid bilateral consultation service at the staff level, then deputy level, and finally principal level. As a result, the U.S. will be able to ensure full enforcement of this phase one agreement and the reforms it includes.
China has also agreed to expand trade with the U.S. China agreed to increase imports by two billion dollars over the next two years. They will go off of the 2017 baseline of U.S. exports (China imports) and will then add an additional two billion dollars. The administration is not releasing the exact subcategories of what products will be included yet, so that there is no effect on other markets.
As a part of this agreement, the United States has agreed to significantly modify its Section 301 tariffs. The U.S. is not imposing the fifteen percent tariffs. The tariffs of twenty-five percent to thirty percent will also not be imposed. The United States will also halve the tariff rate on about $120 billion of goods, to 7.5 percent.
These successful phase one negotiations have begun important progress towards rebalancing our trade relationship with China. ASA Advocacy is dedicated to being YOUR voice in D.C. and on the Hill. Contact Catherine Treadwell Perry, J.D., Director of Government Relations with any concerns you may have regulatory or legislative.
- In a 23-17 party-line vote, the House Judiciary Committee advanced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the full House, recommending charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and White House counsel Pat Cipollone met to coordinate plans for the Senate's impeachment trial, but reportedly did not reach an agreement on a final strategy to defend Trump. Trump is pushing for the Senate to hear from witnesses that would defend him, while McConnell and other Republican senators who back Trump's acquittal have warned against a dragged out trial.
- Trump signed an executive order to expand the federal government's definition of anti-Semitism, a move aimed at the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel movement that has been popular on college campuses. Critics of the executive order say it infringes on free-speech rights and favors Jewish students over Muslim students.
- Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said it would be a "huge mistake" for the Senate to move quickly to vote on a revised trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada after a deal was reached between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Toomey, who called many of the proposed changes "counterproductive," said the new trade deal would have little impact on economic growth. See additional information on this under “Trade”.
- The House voted 230-192 to pass a measure that would give the government the power to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers, a move that comes amid a veto threat from Trump. Passage of the bill, though largely along party lines, delivers on one of the Democrats' central 2018 campaign promises, and could put pressure on the Senate to take up its own a bipartisan drug-price measure.
- The Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, joining the House in rebuking Turkey despite repeated objections from the Trump administration. Turkey's ambassador to the United States has warned lawmakers that passing the measure could jeopardize relations and economic cooperation between the United States and Turkey, two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.
- The Senate voted 72-18 to confirm Stephen Hahn to to lead the Food and Drug Administration. The agency has lacked a permanent commissioner since April when Scott Gottlieb resigned.
- In a 70-22 vote, the Senate confirmed Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to be the next U.S. ambassador to Russia.
- The Senate confirmed the 50th circuit court judge nominated by Trump. In three years, the number of judges Trump has gotten on the bench falls just five short of former President Barack Obama's record over an eight-year period.
- All seven candidates who qualified for this week's Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles have threatened to skip the event amid the union strike by 150 cashiers, cooks, dishwashers and servers at the university.
- Trump is reportedly considering the possibility of sitting out the general election debates in 2020 due to his concerns about the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit entity that sponsors the debates.
- The Democratic National Committee said it will hold four presidential primary debates in the first two months of 2020 in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The DNC did not announce debate qualification criteria
- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released a proposal to revamp the Community Reinvestment Act that would require banks serve borrowers of all income levels, which was met with criticism from some Democrats and community groups who said it could reduce limiting to low-income neighborhoods. The proposal is backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. but not the Federal Reserve, which is considering its own plan.
- In a rare move, House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and five other panel Democrats attended the FDIC meeting where the agency released its Community Reinvestment Act plan. The move signals lawmakers' interest in the Community Reinvestment Act plan and underscores criticism of the proposal from congressional Democrats.
- The United States and China have officially announced a phase-one trade deal, with Trump removing tariffs scheduled for today and Beijing promising to buy more American farm products. The United States will also halve the tariff rate on about $120 billion of goods, to 7.5 percent.
- US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Final terms of the USMCA were agreed to by congressional Democrats and President Trump’s trade negotiators and hailed by both business and labor officials. The House will pass the USMCA next week, while the Senate likely will take it up after the impeachment trial. The agreement is another accomplishment that President Trump will be able to tout on the campaign trail, but it also is a win for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). She succeeded in adding Democratic priorities on enforcement to the agreement, while also demonstrating that she can juggle impeachment with other pressing policy priorities. Most importantly, USMCA expands trade opportunities between the three countries involved and reminds the world that the Americas region is committed to strong trade integration and expansion. Though financial markets have been rattled this year by signs of global trade disruptions, the upcoming passage of USMCA, which may not be completed until February, is a reminder that good trade deals can be made and that the US's embrace of higher tariffs is more of a negotiating tactic than an overriding trade philosophy. (IAPMO Washington Update) ASA has supported the adoption of the USMCA and has been asking those in support to let their elected officials know through our grassroots campaign. We would like to hear from you concerning ASA’s continued support of the USMCA based on agreements reached with the Democrats.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) wealth tax would raise $1.1 trillion less than projected over a decade, according to a new analysis from the Penn-Wharton Budget Model. The difference in the Democratic presidential candidate's proposed tax expectations comes from a disagreement over how prevalent tax avoidance would be under a new law.
- The House voted 230-192 to pass Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) legislation to curb rising drug prices by authorizing the federal government to negotiate prices with drugmakers for a minimum of 50 drugs per year. But the bill is all but certain to die in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have introduced their own plan with the support of top White House advisers.
- The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement does not include any protections for biologic drugs, a significant change that was made to the first draft of the deal in large part to reach a compromise with House Democrats.
- New Bill to Improve Water Conservation. U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the Energy and Water Research Integration Act. This bill would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to consider water conservation during energy research projects and focus federal research and development on creating technologies to decrease water consumption in energy production. According to a 2015 U.S. Geological Survey report, about 45 percent of all water withdrawn from ground or surface sources in the U.S. is used for energy production. The Energy and Water Research Integration Act would ensure the intensity of energy and water is considered in the Department of Energy's energy research, development, and demonstration programs to help guarantee efficient, reliable, and sustainable delivery of energy and clean water resources. "It takes a lot of water to produce energy, and it takes a lot of energy to produce clean water. Residents of drought-prone states like Nevada understand that we need to be doing more to ensure that water security and energy production can coexist," said Senator Cortez Masto. "By directing the Department of Energy to consider water use when researching new energy projects, this legislation would help bolster the development of innovative new technologies to decrease water consumption in energy production, improve efficiency and conserve our natural resources." In the House of Representatives, companion legislation was introduced by Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas-30) and Frank Lucas (R-Okla.-03). This bill was passed by the House on July 23, 2019. (IAPMO Washington Update)
- House and Senate are in session.
- The House will vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump and on the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). Both the House and Senate will also pass a comprehensive $1.3 trillion bill to fund government agencies and departments for the remainder of fiscal year 2020.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
Update on State Bills Being Tracked
New State Activity
- New Jersey - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.4389-B/A.6295-A) to help prevent the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane from contaminating New York's water systems. This new law prohibits the sale of household cleaning products containing 1,4-dioxane and limits the sale of cosmetic and personal care products with certain levels of 1,4-dioxane.
- New Jersey S3965 (2018-2019 Regular Session) - Requires DEP, DOH, DCA, owners or operators of public water systems, and owners or operators of certain buildings to take certain actions to prevent and control cases of Legionnaires' disease. Action taken - Referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
- New Jersey A6079 (2018-2019 Regular Session) - Establishes “Residential Water Quality Assurance Program” in DEP; requires certain disclosures from residents and property owners regarding lead in drinking water. The program is set for five years and provides free lead testing kits to all homeowners with a house constructed prior to 1990.
- Florida S1190 (2020 Regular Session) – sets requirements for registration of cooling towers in the State along with new maintenance and reporting requirements.
- Illinois HB3982 (101st General Assembly) - amends the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois. Directs the Department of Public Health to review, consider, and establish maximum contaminant levels in public water systems.
White House hopeful Michael Bloomberg recently unveiled his plan to combat climate change, setting a series of deadlines he would meet to curb emissions.
The former New York City mayor’s plan would get the country toward a 100% “clean-energy economy-wide future” by 2050, slash emissions by 50% by 2030 and ensure 80% clean electricity by the end of his second term in office.
A year-end government funding package is likely to include repeal of ObamaCare’s Cadillac Tax and medical device tax, according to sources familiar with the talks.
The move would mark a final blow to two taxes that were originally passed in the Affordable Care Act to help fund the law’s coverage expansion, but that have been repeatedly delayed and criticized by lawmakers in both parties.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer dismissed the idea of political costs to the administration after some Republicans signaled concern over concessions President Trump made to get Democrats on board with a trade deal with Mexico and Canada. “There are always process issues. This bill is better now with the exception of biologics, which is a big exception,” Lighthizer said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” referring to a 10-year data exclusivity period for biologic drugs that was dropped from the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) deal as part of the negotiation.
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