TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Fact sheet: The President’s trade agenda and annual report

Friday, 01 March 2019

Source: The White House

On March 1, 2019, the United States Trade Representative released President Trump’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and Annual Report, outlining how the Administration’s trade policies are benefitting American workers, contributing to the strongest U.S. economy in decades, and rebalancing America’s trade relationships and the global economy.

In just two years, the Administration has already made significant progress in implementing its trade agenda. As our policies continue to take effect, President Trump’s leadership is charting a course that leads to stronger growth – and better jobs – for all Americans. The President’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda underscores three main points:


  • President Trump inherited a deeply flawed global trading system that put U.S. companies and workers at an unfair disadvantage and discouraged true market competition. 
  • The United States has been poorly served by outdated and imbalanced trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that reduced economic opportunities for many Americans.  
  • A failing multilateral trade system is exemplified by the following facts:
    • No new significant multilateral market access agreements have been made at the World Trade Organization (WTO) since it was formed in 1994.
    • The harmful judicial activism of the WTO’s Appellate Body.
  • Unfair trade has harmed U.S. workers and businesses, including through non-market policies causing overcapacity, China’s attacks on U.S. innovation and intellectual property, and U.S. trade partners disregarding labor and environmental obligations and science-based standards.
  • Under President Trump’s leadership, the Administration has undertaken a major revision of U.S. trade agreements and much stricter enforcement of U.S. trade laws to create a more level playing field for American workers and a more fair and efficient global economy. 
  • President Trump has delivered on his promises to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and negotiate better trade deals.
    • KORUS was revised in a matter of months and achieved significant outcomes for U.S. workers and businesses, including expanding U.S. access to Korea’s market and addressing long-standing concerns with onerous and costly procedures.
    • NAFTA was renegotiated with unprecedented speed into the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to rebalance America’s trade relationships and better serve the interests of American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.
      • As a new paradigm for future trade agreements, the USMCA is the most advanced trade agreement ever negotiated by the United States on key issues like labor, environmental protection, currency manipulation, intellectual property, and digital trade. 
      • One of the Administration’s top priorities in 2019 is to obtain Congressional approval of the USMCA. 
  • The Administration is dedicated to aggressively enforcing U.S. trade laws using all available tools to prevent other countries from unfairly attacking our market and to create a fairer and stronger economy for American workers.
    • The Administration launched the investigation into China’s treatment of U.S. intellectual property under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, resulting in findings that warranted the imposition of tariffs to obtain the elimination of China’s unfair trade acts, policies, and practices.
      • The United States has worked closely with leaders from the EU and Japan, who share many of the concerns expressed by the United States regarding China’s actions.
      • The United States has engaged in negotiations with China on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services, and agriculture.
    • President Trump has delivered on his promise to provide safeguard relief when increased imports of a product harm domestic producers of that product.
      • The International Trade Commission investigation found that imports of solar cells and modules and of large residential washing machines were a substantial cause of serious injury to U.S. producers of solar panels and washing machines.
      • Consistent with the ITC’s findings, President Trump used his authority under Section 201 to increase tariffs on solar cells and modules, as well as imported washing machines.
    • The Administration has continued its robust enforcement and defense of U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) laws, including from unwarranted challenges at the WTO.
    • The Administration has continued to ensure appropriate application of U.S. trade preference programs, including the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
      • USTR launched new GSP eligibility reviews of India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Turkey to determine whether the subject countries are truly satisfying the statutory criteria to receive the benefits of GSP treatment.
      • USTR’s vigorous engagement with countries subject to GSP eligibility reviews launched in previous years led to concrete improvements in worker rights in Bolivia, Iraq, and Uzbekistan, and improved protection of intellectual property rights in Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
    • The Administration continues to assert the United States’ national sovereignty at the WTO, following through on the President’s promise to put America first.
      • The United States remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations under WTO agreements and rejects efforts by the WTO Appellate Body to create new obligations to which WTO Members have not agreed.
      • The Administration has led efforts to improve performance related to notification and transparency obligations under WTO Agreements, provided concrete proposals to address the fundamental problems related to self-designation of developing country status, and contributed on a daily basis to the improved functioning of the committees where much of the WTO’s work is accomplished.
  • In 2019, the Trump Administration will continue working to rebalance U.S. trade relationships for the benefit of American workers and businesses. 
  • The Administration’s trade agenda will continue to focus on efforts to strengthen the U.S. economy and thereby help to generate the resources necessary to preserve our national security.  This includes efforts to preserve the innovation and technology that remain vital not only to our economy, but also to our national defense.
  • The Administration will continue pursuing new trade deals with strategic partners, including the launch of new trade negotiations with Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom and to deepen trade with Kenya through a trade and investment working group.
  • The Administration will continue to enforce U.S. laws and trading rights through the monitoring of trade agreements, engagement in multilateral organizations such as formal challenges at the WTO, and action under U.S. trade laws.
  • The Administration will continue to work to rebalance the global economy, leading to more sustainable economic growth in the United States. We will build upon the improvements that the United States has already seen in production, employment, exports, and wages.



>> Download the full 2019 Trade Policy Report in the downloads (Documents and Reports) section. 


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