International trade and international trade disputes were a predominant focus of President Trump and his trade officials throughout 2018. Thompson Hine’s Trump and Trade team has prepared a slide presentation to provide our readers with a broad overview of the most significant trade actions taken by the Trump administration last year. From the renegotiation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is now the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to the many ongoing trade actions involving imports of steel, aluminum and products from China, it was a busy year. This overview concisely presents details and the current status of the president’s primary trade activities.

The presentation includes information on the current status of President Trump’s major trade actions, including NAFTA/USMCA negotiations, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and other bilateral trade negotiations with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom. It also provides details on major trade and tariff actions occurring in 2018, such as the Section 232 steel/aluminum tariffs, the Section 232 automobile and automobile parts investigation, and the Section 301 China-related tariffs.

We invite you to stay abreast of continuing developments in 2019 via our blog, TrumpandTrade.com. To receive an email notification whenever a new post is published, please subscribe to the blog.

Happy new year!

Twenty-five Republican senators authored a letter to President Trump encouraging his administration to re-engage in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement discussions, which he abandoned shortly after taking office in January 2017. Despite the withdrawal of the United States from TPP negotiations, the remaining 11 countries continued negotiating the newly approved Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is scheduled to be signed by its member countries March 8. This prompted a recent statement by President Trump that he may be interested in the multilateral deal if it could be made “substantially better.”

The senators urged the president to prioritize TPP engagement since increased economic engagement with the involved countries “has the potential to substantially improve the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, support millions of U.S. jobs, increase U.S. exports, increase wages, fully unleash America’s energy potential, and benefit consumers.” In addition, the letter highlights the senators’ belief that re-engaging in TPP discussions can serve as a counter-balance to China’s influence in the region and as another platform to address and modernize trade with Canada and Mexico, which are parties to the CPTPP.

Toshimitsu Motegi, the Japanese government official in charge of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, announced today that the 11 countries still participating in the negotiations had agreed on a newly revised TPP, which will now be called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This resolution followed last-minute objections from Canada at a TPP summit in Vietnam last November. Motegi said that the 11 nations plan to sign the agreement on March 8 in Chile. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the original TPP deal on his third day in office.

One of Canada’s issues concerned an exemption to protect Canadian cultural products from the effects of free trade. Motegi said that the parties agreed to exchange a side letter with Canada over the issue after the pact goes into effect. It is also reported that Canada secured real gains in labor and environmental standards and the removal of text related to intellectual property.

Motegi called the agreement “epoch-making for Japan as well as for the future of the Asia-Pacific region,” and expressed hope that the United States will rejoin the deal eventually.