WTO Rules Against US Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

According to Reuters, on December 9, 2022, the World Trade Organization ruled against US tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum imports. Back in 2018, the United States imposed 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminum, using Section 232 of a 1962 act allowing to restrict imports if they are considered to threat national security.

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Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement

As of December 29, 2022, tariffs on 85% of Australia’s exports to India are eliminated and high tariffs on a further 5% of goods are phased down. The agreement has eliminated tariffs over seven years on products including macadamias, cashews, shelled pistachios and hazelnuts.

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China-Ecuador FTA Negotiations Concluded

According to Reuters, China and Ecuador have concluded negotiations to reach a free trade agreement. It is expected to especially impact agricultural and agro-industrial products from Ecuador, as well as better access of machinery from China.

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EU: Agricultural Labor Productivity Up by 13% in 2022

According to data from Eurostat published on December 16, 2022, the index of agricultural labor productivity in the EU has increased by 13% in 2022, after a slight growth in 2021. Highlights include:

  • Market disruption provokes considerable variations in labor productivity
  • Rise in EU labor productivity driven by sharp increase in agricultural prices
  • Agricultural labor productivity for the EU as a whole in 2022 over 40% higher than in 2015

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EU Signs Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Thailand and Malaysia

Both Malaysia and Thailand have signed Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with the European Union. The agreements intend to “enhance the political dialogue on issues of global concern and will give more scope for mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide number of policy areas, including the environment, energy, climate change, transport, trade, employment and social affairs, human rights, agriculture”.

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Iran-Eurasian Economic Union FTA

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union have finalized the terms for a free trade agreement that shall be signed on January 18, 2022. The agreement will cover more than 7,500 types of commodities and will grant tariff concessions to 500 types of Iranian commodities, whereas Iran has listed 400 types of goods.

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Kenya and South Korea Agree to Deeper Economic Cooperation

During a 3-day official visit to South Korea from November 21-24, 2022, Kenya and South Korea agreed to expand ties aimed to contribute to the socio-economic development of the two countries in certain areas, including agriculture. The deal is expected to address trade especially on Kenyan agri products.

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USA-China: Economic and Security Review

In the 2022 Annual Report to Congress, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has recommended that the Congress directs the Administration to produce an interagency report to assess China’s compliance with the terms and conditions of the 1999 Agreement on Market Access between China and the US. The Commission recommends that “if the report concludes that China has failed to comply with the provisions agreed to for its accession to the WTO, Congress should consider legislation to immediately suspend China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) treatment”. The suspension of normal trading relations could result in an increase tariff on China’s imports, among other consequences.

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USA Revokes Russia’s Market Economy Status

On November 10, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it will no longer treat Russia as a market economy in its antidumping (AD) proceedings. This measure may result in an increase of import duties for Russian goods that are subject to antidumping (AD) investigations.

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USA-UK: Suspension of Tariffs for Prunes from California

The United Kingdom has suspended import tariffs on dried prunes from California. Effective since January 1, 2023, the suspension sees the removal of the 8% tariff until at least December 31, 2024.

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