trade

NAFTA Talks Hit One-Year Mark as Trump Keeps Canada Hanging
Mexican officials are in D.C. this week amid push for bilateral agreement

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump pose for photos in 2017. A year into negotiations, the fate of NAFTA remains uncertain. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Top U.S. and Mexican negotiators are meeting this week in the latest effort to finish a bilateral trade agreement amid unanswered questions about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the first anniversary of the Trump administration’s launching of negotiations to revamp the 1994 trade pact.

Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, secretary of the economy, made a late afternoon arrival at the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday. Guajardo is leading a Mexican delegation comprised of negotiators from the current administration and a transition team from the new administration that takes office in December.

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

McConnell Casts Doubt on Legislation to Restrict Trump’s Trade Authority
Kentucky Republican talked taxes and trade Friday in Louisville

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was talking taxes and trade in his hometown on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped at a water tank manufacturing company Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, to tout the benefits of the Republican tax overhaul, but the conversation not surprisingly turned to trade.

The Kentucky Republican said it was unlikely Congress could enact restrictions on President Donald Trump’s trade authority, despite some GOP senators’ efforts to reign in the president’s actions.

Lindsey Graham Cheers Trump China Policy After Golf Outing
South Carolina Republican was President Trump’s golf partner Sunday in New Jersey

Sen. Lindsey Graham golfed with President Donald Trump on Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, fresh off a Sunday golf outing with President Donald Trump, said he stands with the president on getting tough on trade with China.

But the South Carolina Republican told reporters in his home state Monday that he said the best way to combat China’s trade practices like mandatory technology transfers is through U.S. deals with allies in North America and Europe.

Trump’s Threat to Leave the WTO Alarms Many, Even in Congress
And it might be a tipping point for Republicans on the Hill

President Donald Trump, here at the Capitol in June, says World Trade Organization members are not playing fair with America. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The United States once viewed the World Trade Organization as the wave of the future, an improvement over the aging General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade system and a hub of rules-based stability for countries — rich and poor, democratic and nondemocratic — engaged in the international buying and selling of goods and services.

Now President Donald Trump is eyeing the exit door from the WTO, a Geneva-based body the U.S. helped to create in 1995 to negotiate trade standards among its 164-member nations and to referee disputes among them using a playbook of agreed upon rules.

In Pennsylvania, Trump Rips Casey as ‘Sleeping Bob’
GOP Senate nominee Barletta tells crowd Democrat will ‘take away your tax cuts’

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, right, talks with the state’s junior senator, Republican Patrick J. Toomey, in the Senate subway in July 2016. President Donald Trump visited the state Thursday night to campaign against Casey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Looking to boost Republican Rep. Lou Barletta in his Pennsylvania Senate bid, President Donald Trump dismissed the Democratic incumbent Bob Casey at a rally Thursday as “Sleeping Bob,” calling him “overrated” and too controlled by his party’s leaders.

Trump called Barletta onstage near the start of the rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, calling him a “very special man” who has “been with me.”

Trump Goes to War With Koch Brothers
In angry tweets, president dubs conservative megadonors as ‘total joke’ after they pivoted toward bipartisan policies

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn to Marine One on Friday on their way to Joint Base Andrews. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted influential conservative donors Charles and David Koch, dubbing them a “total joke” who are “against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade.”

The president’s harsh words for the powerful brothers came a day after they signaled an intention to shift away from their practice of pushing for Republican-only bills and policy solutions, saying they would seek and push bipartisan proposals, which is seen as a repudiation of Trump.

US, EU Trade Officials Split Over Agriculture in Trade Talks
“We feel the EU has become increasingly aggressive in their agreements,” Perdue says

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says agriculture will be a part of upcoming trade between U.S. and EU officials, contradicting a statement by a European Commission spokeswoman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The apparent U.S.-European Union trade truce is less than a week old and the two parties disagree on whether agriculture will be on the table in follow-up discussions to flesh out an agreement, adding more uncertainty to the American farm economy.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue reiterated the U.S. trade representative’s position that agriculture will be part of further talks. Robert Lighthizer last week told Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Chairman Jerry Moran that no matter what the EU says, the U.S. “view is that we are negotiating about agriculture, period. That’s part of the process.” The panel questioned Lighthizer about the administration’s overall trade strategy.

Trump Trade Czar Talks Lobsters, ‘Farmers of the Sea’ and ‘Playing Chicken’
Robert Lighthizer tells Senate panel trade dispute with China won’t end soon

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the Trump administration’s aggressive trade push will eventually result in better deals for American companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Senate appropriators Thursday it could take years to get China to change trade policies that he says undercut U.S. businesses. But he added that the Trump administration’s aggressive push for change in Beijing will eventually result in better deals for American companies.

While Lighthizer defended the administration’s tariffs action on Chinese imports, lawmakers on the Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee pressed for quicker action to open up additional export markets for U.S. products.

Wilbur Ross Calls Out Firms for Using Tariffs as ‘Excuse’ for Firings
Commerce secretary: EU trade talks will be fast-tracked

Farmland in the desert near Palmdale, Calif. Farm-state lawmakers are concerned the Trump administration’s sanctions will hurt their farmers. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross criticized companies that have fired workers because of those tariffs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called out U.S. companies that blame President Donald Trump’s tariffs after laying off employees, saying they are using the White House’s trade policies as an “excuse.”

“Look at the actual statistics. A lot more jobs are being created,” Ross told pool reporters Thursday on Air Force One. He said the Trump administration’s employment data “do not show that employment is being hurt,” predicting “very good numbers for the June period.”