The Trade Enforcement Digest, Issue #8

The Trade Enforcement Digest, Issue #8

Welcome to
The Trade Enforcement Digest,
a monthly newsletter brought to you by the Alliance for Trade Enforcement (AFTE).

AFTE is a coalition of trade associations and business groups that advocates for protecting American businesses and workers by enforcing U.S. trade agreements.

Would you like to speak with an AFTE representative about any of the issues discussed in this newsletter? If so, please email

Alliance Announcements

  • Brian Pomper penned an op-ed for IPWatchdog explaining why free trade agreements don’t achieve their goals unless participating nations take action to enforce them. He also highlighted ways USTR should mobilize to enforce USMCA and KORUS to reap the full benefits of these agreements, while advancing the argument that IPEF needs strong, actionable enforcement provisions to be successful.

In the News

  • U.S. AND JAPAN HOLD 2ND ROUND OF MEETINGS FOR TRADE PARTNERSHIP: The United States and Japan conducted their second round of meetings for the United States-Japan Partnership on Trade, which was launched in November 2021 to establish regular engagement on bilateral trade issues. During the meeting, the two countries discussed digital trade, regulatory transparency, and “ensuring a level playing field for U.S. products and services such as standards-related issues.” (USTR, 8/25)

  • U.S. TO HOST IPEF MINISTERIAL MEETING IN SEPTEMBER: The United States is hosting the first in-person IPEF Ministerial in Los Angeles, CA on September 8-9. USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will conduct meetings on the four pillars of IPEF — trade; supply chains; clean energy, decarbonization, and infrastructure; and tax and anti-corruption — with 13 Indo-Pacific partners. (USTR, 8/23)

  • UNITED STATES AND TAIWAN ESTABLISH TRADE NEGOTIATION OBJECTIVES: The United States and Taiwan reached an agreement on broad objectives for trade negotiations that will take place later this fall. The negotiations will notably focus on “removing discriminatory barriers to trade” and “ways to address distortive practices of state-owned enterprises and non-market policies and practices.” USTR also committed to consult Congress and other key stakeholders during negotiations. (USTR, 8/17)

  • NEW STUDY FINDS 3D PRINTING CAN POSITIVELY IMPACT GLOBAL TRADE: New research from UC San Diego demonstrates that 3D printing technology can increase exports significantly, leading to an expansion of global trade. (Science Daily, 8/16)

  • AMBASSADOR TAI SPEAKS AT 2022 UNITED STEELWORKERS CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: Ambassador Tai delivered a speech in Las Vegas at the United Steelworkers Constitutional Convention, where she discussed IPEF, USMCA, and touted enforcement tools as ways to “ensure that [U.S.] trade policy helps workers in all countries.” (USTR, 8/10)

  • NEW TRADE DATA SHOWS DROP IN U.S. TRADE DEFICIT: According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. trade deficit decreased by $5.3 billion to $79.6 billion in June thanks to an increase in U.S. exports and decrease in imports. (BEA, 8/4)

  • NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS TRADE AGREEMENTS NEED ENFORCEMENT MECHANISMS: York University’s Global Strategy lab released new research that shows that apart from trade and finance agreements that include enforcement provisions, international treaties rarely reach their goals. However, the study also found that the mere presence of enforcement mechanisms wasn’t often enough to increase commerce between nations — parties to the agreement needed to actually take enforcement action to yield results. (The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8/1)

Spotlight on Enforcement

(If you only focus on one enforcement issue this month, it should be this one.)

During a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing, the nominee to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative testified that USTR expects to develop enforcement mechanisms for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

This is extremely welcome news, as market access is — and must remain — a critical component of USTR’s core mission and a proactive trade policy that delivers for manufacturers, farmers, and the American economy. Enforceable obligations can improve rules and regulatory transparency, minimize non-tariff trade barriers, and advance science-based policies in the Indo-Pacific.

India, for example, requires certification that more than 20 agricultural products be GMO-free to enter the country, despite lacking any science-based reason for this trade barrier. This rule undercuts American farmers by severely limiting India’s imports of American apples, wheat, potatoes, rice, and other foods.

Indonesia restricts the import of corn used as feed grain, thereby prioritizing sales from domestic producers and boxing U.S. farmers out of the market.

Several countries — including Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia — do not recognize U.S. meat plant inspections, instead performing their own inspections and approving U.S. exports on a plant-by-plant basis. This additional hurdle limits American exporters’ access to these growing markets.

Thailand, meanwhile, has effectively banned the import of U.S. pork due to American farmers’ use of ractopamine, an FDA-approved feed additive that enhances pigs’ growth.

These are just a fraction of the barriers to entry that U.S. agricultural exporters face in the Indo-Pacific — and that USTR must take proactive steps to tackle.

As we approach the first in-person IPEF ministerial in Los Angeles next week, USTR must work to address these and other trade barriers in the region — and push for the inclusion of effective enforcement mechanisms in IPEF to promote market access, smart regulation, and accountability. Enforceable obligations will make IPEF meaningful not just for agriculture, but for all other areas that will be covered by the agreement.