G-7 Leaders’ Declaration. The G-7 Leaders’ Declaration issued on Friday from Ise-Shima, Japan, touched on topics such as the global economy, trade, maritime security, cyberspace, anti-corruption, infrastructure, global health challenges, climate change and female empowerment. The Leaders advocated TPP member states ratify the agreement, while also addressing the global excess steel capacity issue, government subsidies and currency manipulation.
Regarding the global steel crisis, the Leaders noted:
“We are committed to moving quickly in taking steps to address this issue by enhancing market function, including through coordinated actions that identify and seek to eliminate such subsidies and support, and by encouraging adjustment. In this regard, we are prepared to consult with other major producing countries, utilizing venues such as OECD and other fora, and, as necessary and consistent with the WTO rules and disciplines, to consider the broad range of trade policy instruments and actions to enforce our rights.”
The Leaders also focused on particular countries – Syria, Iran, North Korea, Ukraine/Russia, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Venezuela – and regions – the Middle East and Africa – in the Declaration. With respect to Ukraine/Russia, the Leaders expressed concern over continued violence along the line of contact in Eastern Ukraine, calling again on Russia to use its influence with the separatists to adhere to the ceasefire and Minsk agreements. Regarding sanctions imposed on Russia, the Leaders stated:
“We recall that the duration of sanctions is clearly linked to Russia’s complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty. Sanctions can be rolled back when Russia meets these commitments. However, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require. We recognize the importance of maintaining dialogue with Russia in order to ensure it abides by the commitments it has made as well as international law and to reach a comprehensive, sustainable and peaceful solution to the crisis.”
TPP – Financial Services “Data Fix” Announced. On Wednesday, a Treasury Spokesperson said the Department had worked with U.S. financial regulators, Congress and the financial services industry “to develop a new approach to financial services under data localization obligations in our trade and investment agreements.” The Spokesperson added:
“We believe we have made progress in addressing concerns as we seek to eliminate protectionist and trade-distorting data localization measures imposed by foreign governments in the financial services sector, while also ensuring that U.S. financial regulators have access to the information they need for regulatory and supervisory purposes.”
The TPP deal left financial services out of a rule that would ban governments from requiring companies to store data within their borders, which caused the U.S. financial services industry to raise their concerns with Congress.
Treasury outlined a proposal that the United States hopes to advance in future trade deals – like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with China – that would broadly prohibit data localization requirements for financial services companies as long as “financial regulators have access to information stored abroad.” The proposal would not change the provisions of the TPP deal as negotiated, though Treasury is expected to push the proposal with future TPP entrants.