Yemen Becomes the 160th Member of the WTO
Cole Pfeiffer and Jordan Shepherd
Yemen became the 160th and newest member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on June 26 – 30 days after depositing its "Instrument of Acceptance." WTO Members approved Yemen's accession at the Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali in December, and now Yemen is the seventh Least Developed Country to accede to the WTO since its 1995 establishment. According to WTO Director-General Azevêdo, Yemen's accession now brings 97.1 percent of the world economy under the aegis of the international trade regime. Yemen's entrance into the WTO allows it to benefit from the rules-based trade regime as well as the WTO Secretariat's technical assistance and capacity building programs. While the United States exported over $500 million to Yemen in 2013, U.S. manufacturers and exporters now can seek new trade opportunities due to Yemen's commitments on market access as well as on topics such as trade remedies, customs procedures, and state-owned enterprises.
Secretary Of Commerce Names First Round Of "Manufacturing Communities"
Erienne Kilgore and Shannon Doyle Barna
On May 28, Secretary of Commerce Penny S. Pritzker designated the first 12 U.S. "manufacturing communities" as part of the Obama Administration's Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Program. Pritzker stated that "the program is a critical part of the 'Open for Business' agenda for strengthening the American Manufacturing sector and attracting more investment to the U.S." The initial communities, selected from a pool of 70 applicants, were chosen based on their strong economic growth policies and the potential impact that "manufacturing community" status could have on the area. Each of the 12 communities will be partnered with a federal liaison from one of the 11 federal agencies involved in the program, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Defense, and Transportation. The liaisons will help the communities in their efforts to secure funding from the $1.3 billion in federal economic development assistance offered by the federal government.
The selected communities are: southwest Alabama, southern California, northwest Georgia, the Chicago metropolitan area, south Kansas, the greater Portland, Maine region, southeastern Michigan, the New York Finger Lakes region, the southwestern Ohio aerospace region, the Tennessee Valley, the Washington Puget Sound region and the Milwaukee 7 region. These 12 areas will retain their status as manufacturing communities for two years. The White House will host a second round of competition later this year for the next round of manufacturing communities.
Stefan Selig Confirmed as Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade
Szymon Maziakowski and P. Lee Smith
The Senate has confirmed Stefan Selig as undersecretary of International Trade at the Department of Commerce. Formerly executive vice chairman of global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Selig was confirmed by voice vote on June 4.
In his position, Selig will oversee Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA). ITA works to improve the global business environment and helps U.S. organizations compete at home and abroad by strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, and ensuring fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of U.S. trade laws and agreements. ITA's current initiatives include facilitating export opportunities through President Obama's National Export Initiative and SelectUSA, a government-wide investment summit aimed at attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
President Obama Names Meredith Broadbent as Chairman and Dean Pinkert as Vice Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission
President Obama designated Meredith M. Broadbent, a Republican of Virginia, as Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) on June 17. On the same day, President Obama designated Dean A. Pinkert, a Democrat of Virginia, as Vice Chairman of the USITC. Both Commissioners will hold these leadership positions through June 16, 2016. The USITC is an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, including in the areas of unfair trade practices and intellectual property disputes.