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NDTO & World Trade News: What You Should Know

The North Dakota Trade Office has been in high gear over the summer as it underwent a strategy and revisioning process in order to best serve the state’s exporters, while also advocating on behalf of our members during this dynamic global trade climate. Since NDTO Newsletters took a brief hiatus during this time, we want to bring you up to date on what’s been happening both in world trade news as well as here at the NDTO.

Over the past several months, NDTO executive director Simon Wilson has appeared in both local and national media, including the Wall Street Journal and CNBC News advocating for an end to arbitrary trade barriers and publicizing how they affect North Dakota exporters. Here’s the latest on the trade issues at stake:

  • U.S., Canada and Mexico have renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, modernizing the 24-year-old agreement and, per President Trump, rebranding it as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). USCMA allows for continued free market access for goods covered under NAFTA, will give the U.S. additional access to the coveted Canadian dairy market, eliminate an automatic downgrade of U.S. wheat in the Canadian market, and make rules of origin and labor wage changes in the auto industry. Also included is a stipulation that if one member signs a trade deal with a non-market economy, such as China, the other two members may give a six months’ notice to terminate USMCA and instead, establish bilateral trade deals. Next up, all three countries must ratify the agreement before it goes into effect.
  • U.S. enacted a 10% tariff on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports ranging from furniture to textiles to bolts in mid September 2018. That rate will eventually increase to 25%. This brings the total amount of Chinese imported goods hit with recent tariffs to $250 billion.
  • China responded with tariffs between 5-10% on $60 billion of U.S. goods bound for China, raising the amount of U.S. products with additional tariffs in China to $110 billion.
  • China and U.S. trade officials have both canceled their planned visits in September and October due to the increased tensions between Washington and Beijing.
  • The Trump administration announced in July an emergency aid package of $12 billion for farmers hurt by trade issues, specifically Chinese tariffs on U.S. products. Currently, farmers are eligible for a maximum payment of $125,000 for dairy and hog products and $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. Those with incomes over $900,000 are ineligible.
  • The tariffs on steel and aluminum coming into the U.S., enacted June 1, 2018, continue be in effect.
  • South Korea and U.S. revamped their six-year-old free trade agreement on September 24 with measures to increase American exports to South Korea, most notably American automobiles.
  • U.S. trade officials have entered into talks with Europe and Japan regarding potential bilateral trade deals.

Throughout these trade developments, the North Dakota Trade Office has continued to be awarded grants, plan trade missions and undergone an evolution that’s aligned our organization with the changing times. Here’s what’s been happening:

  • NDTO staff and Board of Directors have created a new NDTO mission, vision, guiding principles and definition of trade:
    • Mission – To provide the North Dakota community with expertise and resources to grow business through trade.
    • Vision – Empowering people to expand trade
    • Guiding principles – education, engagement, advocacy and collaboration
    • NDTO’s definition of trade – The sale of a good or service outside of the borders of North Dakota
  • NDTO has designed a new membership benefits structure for current and future members. Many of the previous benefits have been rolled into a new package that will feature online access to education, paid out benefits for completing export related activities and access to country and industry specific market reports and statistics. Membership fees remain the same – $2,750 per year. See full member benefits here.
  • NDTO is exploring options to provide an online trade education platform as part of NDTO’s website. This exciting new feature will be integrated within NDTO’s new website, which is to be unveiled early 2019.
  • NDTO hosted over 60 international visitors during the Big Iron Farm Show International Visitors Program (IVP) from countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Ukraine. Delegates were recruited by the U.S Commercial Service and met with equipment dealers and agribusiness professionals to learn more about North Dakota agricultural practices and technology, and purchase equipment. This year’s Big Iron IVP received the highest number of registrants in the program’s history, although an increase in visa denials for potential buyers coming to the U.S. kept the overall program numbers down.
  • NDTO will publish a planned trade mission calendar that will focus on key countries for members and state industries, and align with a long term strategy.

For more information on any of the above news and developments, please contact the North Dakota Trade Office at info@ndto.com or (701) 231-1150.

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