The United States Trade Representative delivered President Trump’s 2020 Trade Policy Agenda and Annual Report to Congress on Feb. 28. The report details how President Trump is keeping his promises to change America’s trade policy – and the result is an economic “blue-collar boom” with higher wages, more jobs and a stronger economy for all. Additionally, the report outlines the Administration’s key trade goals for 2020, including negotiating new trade agreements with strategic partners, aggressively enforcing trade agreements, and changing the World Trade Organization (WTO).
President Trump Kept His Promises and Has Achieved Historic Economic Successes
- The President achieved more trade successes over the last 12 months than prior administrations achieved in a typical decade. The result is a stronger economy, rising wages and more jobs – including more manufacturing jobs.
- While 15,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the 12 months prior to President Trump’s election, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been added to the American economy since then.
- Real median household income is now at the highest level ever recorded. Wages are growing faster for nearly all groups, but historically disadvantaged groups are seeing the fastest growth.
- Wealth inequality has finally declined, as the share of net worth held by the bottom 50 percent of households has increased while the share held by the top one percent of households has decreased.
Standing Up to China’s Unfair Trade Practices
- President Trump kept his promise and confronted China over its unfair trade practices, after years of little more than talk from Washington. The enforceable and historic Phase One Agreement he signed requires major structural changes by China relating to intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agricultural standards, financial services, and currency, while maintaining leverage with significant tariffs on $370 billion worth of imports from China.
- In addition, the Phase One Agreement expands trade, with enforceable commitments by China to increase purchases of U.S. exports by no less than $200 billion over the next two years in four major areas: manufactured goods, agriculture, energy, and services. Both sides expect that China’s increased imports of U.S. goods and services will continue on this trajectory beyond 2021.
Replacing NAFTA With a Modern and Balanced USMCA
- President Trump kept his promise to end NAFTA by replacing it with a far better agreement – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA is a 21st century agreement that will lead to fairer trade and robust economic growth in North America.
- The USMCA encourages U.S. manufacturing by requiring high-wage labor content for autos; strengthens supply chains to provide new market opportunities for the U.S. textile and apparel sector; provides strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights; includes the strongest labor provisions of any trade agreement; expands market access for American food and agricultural products; contains the strongest disciplines on digital trade of any international agreement; and makes environmental obligations fully enforceable.
Fairer Trade with Japan
- The President successfully negotiated two trade agreements with Japan, the world’s third largest national economy.
- The United States-Japan Trade Agreement and the United States-Japan Digital Trade Agreement reflect early achievements from negotiations in the areas of market access and digital trade. Thanks to these agreements, more than 90% of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access, and new digital trade rules covering $40 billion in trade will help drive innovation and economic prosperity.
Vigorously Enforcing Our Trade Laws and Trade Agreements
- Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States is actively enforcing our trade laws and free trade agreements. For too long, the United States failed to take steps to ensure that other nations followed through on the promises they made in trade agreements with the United States. That failed approach has ended.
- Over the last year, the United States initiated two actions to enforce environmental provisions in our free trade agreements, and our trading partners changed their practices. The United States also obtained an historic WTO award of $7.5 billion annually – the largest in WTO history – in our country’s long-running dispute with the European Union over illegal subsidies to Airbus.
Leading Efforts to Change the World Trade Organization
- The United States has engaged extensively with WTO Members to address long-standing U.S. concerns, bring forward new ideas and proposals, and advance ongoing negotiations.
- The United States led efforts to assess the failings of the WTO Appellate Body and issued the first comprehensive study of the Appellate Body. The Report details the Appellate Body’s repeated failure to follow the rules WTO Members agreed to. It also describes how the Appellate Body’s persistent overreaching has taken away Members’ rights and imposed new obligations on those Members without their consent.
- The United States led efforts to improve transparency and compliance with notification of certain trade-related obligations. The United States was the first WTO Member to table a transparency proposal that establishes appropriate consequences for chronic non-compliance with notification obligations.
- The United States proposed updating Members’ special and differential designations so the WTO can reflect current economic realities. As a result, several WTO Members have renounced seeking special and differential treatment in trade negotiations going forward.
- Together with other WTO Members, the United States is working on e-commerce and digital trade initiatives. The United States has proposed high-standard rules in all key areas of digital trade, such as those related to cross-border data flows, privacy, source code, and cybersecurity to help ensure that digital trade can continue to drive economic growth and development.
- The United States is actively working to finalize a multilateral fisheries agreement. The United States is aiming high to achieve meaningful reductions in these harmful subsidies and imposing real constraints on the world’s largest subsidizers.
Expanding an America-First Trade Agenda
- Over the coming year, the Trump Administration will focus on negotiating new trade agreements that benefit all Americans, strongly enforcing the nation’s trade laws to ensure our trading partners play by the rules, and protecting American interests at the WTO.
- The United States will pursue balanced and reciprocal trade agreements with important strategic partners, including the United Kingdom, the European Union and Kenya.
- United Kingdom - As part of a trade agreement with the UK, the United States aims to achieve a fairer and deeper trade relationship with the UK by addressing certain tariff and non-tariff barriers and agreeing on high-standard rules.
- European Union - For many years, U.S. businesses have been at a disadvantage in doing business in the EU. In a fair trade agreement with the European Union, the United States seeks to eliminate EU barriers to its markets and seeks a more balanced trade relationship.
- Kenya - In pursuing negotiations on a trade agreement with Kenya, the Trump Administration is responding to Congress’ mandate, as expressed in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, to negotiate reciprocal and mutually beneficial trade agreements that serve the interests of both the United States and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
- The Trump Administration will continue to aggressively enforce U.S. trade laws to protect the interests of American businesses and workers. USTR will monitor our trading partners to ensure their compliance with the terms of bilateral, regional, and WTO trade agreements. Where appropriate, USTR may take action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 or recommend action under other statutory authorities granted to the President.
- The United States will also explore a broader reset at the WTO.
- The WTO currently locks in an outdated tariff framework that no longer reflects deliberate policy choices and economic realities. Members need to fundamentally rethink tariff commitments by the United States and its trading partners.
- In addition, the United States will continue to push for a close review of the WTO’s budget, which has faced little scrutiny in the past. The WTO must ensure that there is accountability and that expenditures reflect the priorities of its Members.
- Finally, the United States will advocate for changes that allow for more -- and more effective -- plurilateral agreements.