President Barack Obama signed the customs bill and Judicial Redress Act into law last Wednesday.  In addressing U.S. state governors early last week, the President expressed optimism that Congress may act this year on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.  Congress held a number of oversight hearings last week related to the Administration’s budget request.  The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to convene a hearing this week to examine existing free trade agreements (FTAs).

Customs Bill and Judicial Redress Act Signed into Law.  On 24 February, President Obama signed H.R.644, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (“customs bill”), into law.  President Obama said at the signing ceremony:

“We can’t have other countries engaged in practices that disadvantage American workers and American businesses.” 

The President also thanked Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) for the provision in the law that provides “new tools to deal with currency devaluations that are designed to undercut U.S. goods, U.S. exports, and [the U.S.] balance in trade.”  The signing statement for the customs bill is available here.

 TTIP Developments.  U.S. Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney said at a press briefing on Friday that the United States had tabled a proposal at this week’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations in Brussels that would create a formal mechanism for a regulator-to-regulator dialogue.  The EU also submitted a revised proposal on regulatory cooperation.  There are nine sectors where regulatory cooperation is being discussed:  (1) information and communication technology, (2) engineering, (3) chemicals, (4) pesticides, (5) autos, (6) pharmaceuticals, (7) medical devices, (8) cosmetics, and (9) textiles.

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