U.S. Treasury Secretary Defends U.S. Sanctions.  In a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on 30 March, Treasury Secretary Lew defended the United States’ use of sanctions, noting they add “concentrated and meaningful pressure on governments abusing their own populations.”  While acknowledging sanctions are a tool not to be used lightly, Secretary Lew said:

“Economic sanctions have become a powerful force in service of clear and coordinated foreign policy objectives—smart power for situations where diplomacy alone is insufficient, but military force is not the right response.  They must remain a powerful option for decades to come.  That is why the lessons we have learned from our experience need to guide our approach to sanctions in the future.  And we must be strategic and judicious in how we apply sanctions to challenging situations around the world.”

TPP Developments.  The Obama Administration continues to tout the benefits of the TPP deal, though some industry stakeholders believe the anti-trade sentiment of the presidential campaign is putting in doubt congressional approval of the deal.  USTR released a one-page document last Friday detailing the legal changes necessary for the United States to be compliant with the TPP.

Global Steel Crisis.  More than 100 comments were submitted to USTR and the Commerce Department in response to a public notice on the global steel industry and its impact on the U.S. steel market. The joint 12 April hearing will focus on global steel overcapacity, just ahead of the OECD steel committee meeting on the same topic.

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