U.S. Trade Negotiations and Policy

Trade Matters

Episode 9: What’s Going on in Asia? | February 17, 2020 | 32 minutes

Guest: Michael Plummer, professor of international economics and director, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Europe
Michael Plummer discusses all things Asia, emphasizing the three things he thinks are “the big news” from the region: the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP); the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); and economic integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He explains why political and strategic implications surrounding trade negotiations are often more important than the economic ones, using his own research on India’s withdrawal from RCEP to demonstrate the point. He also tells us why we should be paying more attention to ASEAN.

Episode 11: U.S.-EU Trade and Agriculture | March 17, 2020 | 51 minutes

Guest: Douglas Lippoldt, Chief Trade Economist at HSBC Global Research in London
Douglas Lippoldt explains why the United States and European Union (EU) are each other’s largest trade and investment partners despite never having negotiated a free trade agreement, what’s at stake as the two parties negotiate a limited trade deal, and why agriculture is a longstanding sticking point in U.S.-EU trade. He also explains what Americans and Europeans might misperceive about each other’s agricultural systems.

Episode 19: A Ticking Clock on GSP | October 14, 2020 | 28 minutes

Guest: Dan Anthony, Vice President, The Trade Partnership and Executive Director, Coalition for GSP
U.S. small businesses are major beneficiaries of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a U.S. program that allows eligible developing countries to export certain products to the United States duty-free to spur economic growth in those countries. The program expires on December 31, 2020. Dan Anthony discusses the rationale for GSP, the issues at hand for Congress, and what’s at stake if it expires. An update on the episode: GSP expired December 31, 2020. Proposed legislation to renew the program remains pending in Congress.

Related Reading:

  • “Generalized System of Preferences,” Congressional Research Service, January 12, 2022.

Episode 21: Engagement in the Asia-Pacific and What’s Next for U.S. Trade Policy | November 17, 2021 | 40 minutes

Guest: Wendy Cutler, Vice President of the Asia Society Policy Institute
How the United States should engage in the Asia-Pacific region will be high on the trade policy agenda for the incoming Biden administration. Wendy Cutler draws on her long career as a U.S. trade negotiator to explain what’s at stake in the region, what the future may hold for U.S.-UK and U.S.-Kenya trade negotiations now underway, and how CPTPP member countries view the potential return of the United States to the agreement. She also discusses what a presidential transition looks like from inside the office of the U.S, Trade Representative and offers steps the U.S. government could take to gather more input from Americans on trade policy.

Related Reading:

  • Wendy Cutler, “Reengaging the Asia-Pacific on Trade: A TPP Roadmap for the Next U.S. Administration,” Asia Society Policy Institute, September 30, 2020.


U.S. Trade Negotiations: Is the Phased Approach Here to Stay? | September 29, 2020 | 60 minutes

Under the Trump Administration, the United States has concluded partial, or phased, trade agreements with Japan and China and is currently negotiating limited deals with India, the European Union and the United Kingdom, along with a comprehensive deal with Kenya. The phased approach departs from the typical practice of pursuing deals that cover “substantially all trade” between the parties, in line with WTO commitments, which view partial deals as a step on the way to a comprehensive deal, not as an end state. Clete Willems (a former White House advisor on the Japan and China deals) and Wendy Cutler (who was responsible for the comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation, from which the United States withdrew in 2017) discuss what we have learned from this approach and whether it’s here to stay, in light of trade negotiations now underway.

The Special (Trade) Relationship: U.S.-UK Negotiations | September 25, 2020 | 60 minutes

Britain’s exit from the European Union (“Brexit”) in January 2020 put the country back in charge of its trade policy. Now, it must settle the terms of its future trading relationship with the EU by the end of 2020 and decide whether and how to pursue its own trade agreements with non-EU countries. Trade negotiations between the United States and UK launched in May 2020. University of Cambridge law professor Lorand Bartels, University of California San Diego economics professor Kyle Handley, and trade lawyer and former trade negotiator Warren Maruyama, share perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic. They discuss the legal and economic implications of the uncertainty of the final EU-UK trading relationship on ongoing U.S.-UK trade negotiations as well as the scope and impact of a potential deal.