Fresh from Beijing where he attended the APEC summit and while in Washington earlier this week to participate in Foreign Policy Group’s annual “Transformational Trends” conference, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman sat down with Politico Magazine senior writer Michael Grunwald to discuss prospects for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Obama administration’s international trade agenda in the coming months. Click here to read more.
The European Union’s new Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, made a vigorous case in support of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) at a public conference on Wednesday in Brussels titled “TTIP and Consumers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Click here to read more.
As the U.S. economy continues to grow, Canadian companies that have been sitting on cash will start expanding and creating jobs, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Wednesday.
He told the Senate Committee on National Finance that the U.S. recovery looked “very sustainable” even if growth south of the border was not as robust as it was before the recent recession. Read more here.
(Charlie Morasch – Land Line)
With holiday freight movement slowing and tensions rising surrounding labor issues at the West Coast’s largest port, a protest and strike by truck drivers at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have expanded.
According to the Justice for LA/Long Beach Port Drivers organization, truck drivers from three additional port trucking companies have joined an ongoing labor strike to protest the improper classification of independent contractors. Goods movement has been slow for weeks, though different parties have pointed fingers at striking drivers and dock workers, inefficient chassis and truck processes and larger freight ships.
Port of Los Angeles Spokesman Phillip Sanfield said freight is moving slowly at the port for a variety of reasons. Read more here.
(Peter Epp – QMI Agency)
While American senators were voting down legislation Tuesday that would permit the Keystone XL pipeline to be built in the U.S., two Americans were in Ottawa for the Canadian launch of a task force that wants to strengthen the energy relationship among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
David Petraeus, a retired U.S. general, and Robert Zoellick, a former president of the World Bank, believe it’s high time the three nations worked more closely on energy issues.
They and their colleagues believe the energy and economic challenges faced by the three nations can be better resolved within the context of a North American approach to energy development. Read more here.
(Michael Konopasek – KING 5 News)
Since the rise of ISIS and the recent attack on the Canadian Parliament, US federal government agencies have been sharpening their focus on identifying domestic and foreign terror threats. […]
Federal officers along America’s borders arrest about two dozen people each day for serious felonies that have included terrorism complaints, according to CBP officials. The crossings into Washington state are no exception. At times, the Evergreen State is seen as a tempting possibility for terrorists. Read more here.
(Shawn Donnan – Financial Times)
When India and the US last week ended a dispute that had paralysed the World Trade Organisation, it drew cheers from business groups: multilateralism is back.
Together with another deal struck with China a few days earlier to unlock negotiations on updating the rules on trade in IT products, the deal in India seemed to put things back on track at the WTO.
But is that really the lesson the corporate world should take from the events of the past week? Read more here.
Negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association on a labor contract have extended past the late-July deadline, leaving some exports of U.S. beef, pork and lamb in the lurch, the U.S. Meat Export Federation said this week.
Talks have recently taken a negative turn, and congestion has increased, USMEF said, an issue that is “very concerning” for the meat export industry. Read more here.
(Tom Miles – Reuters)
The European Union has told Russia that its system of oil export duties breaks World Trade Organization rules by discriminating in favour of China and against European buyers, diplomats with knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.
The EU’s longstanding concerns over Russia’s oil duties, raised at a WTO committee meeting on Monday, could be the subject of a legal challenge at the WTO, one trade official said. Read more here.
After a night spent debating the Ukraine crisis with the Russian President, German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out more determined than ever to push the Kremlin out of Eastern Europe. [...]
As President, Putin’s foreign and economic policies have always looked to Germany as a pivotal ally, a vital partner in trade and a sympathetic ear for Russian interests. He seemed to feel that no matter what political headwinds came his way, the German sense of pragmatism would prevail in keeping Berlin on his side. That illusion has just been shattered. Read more here.
Related: Russians Scorn Harper’s ‘Shirt-Fronting’ of Putin (CBC)
As many traders around this season begin working to obtain or provide “blanket” NAFTA Certificates of Origin for the following year, it seems appropriate timing for the Customs Border Protection Agency (CBP) to have issued a notice earlier this week clarifying what it considers to be the difference between a valid, invalid, and defective certificate (applicable, of course, irrespective of whether the form is intended for multiple shipments in the case of “blanket” certificates or related only to a single shipment). Click here to read more.
A ferocious storm dumped massive piles of snow on parts of upstate New York, trapping residents in their homes and stranding motorists on roadways, as temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below.
Even hardened Buffalo residents were caught off-guard Tuesday as more than 150 centimetres fell in parts of the city by Wednesday morning. Authorities said snow totals by the afternoon could top 180 centimetres in the hardest-hit areas south of Buffalo, with another potential 30 to 60 centimetres expected by Thursday. [...]
In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory. Snow blown by strong winds forced the closing of a 212-kilometre stretch of the Thruway, the main highway across New York state. Read more here.
Related:Snowstorm Stops Truckers From Crossing Peace Bridge (Fort Erie Post)
(Mike King – Lloyd’s Loading List )
The new Indonesian government headed by President Joko Widodo has pledged to make it easier for private investors to secure stakes in the country’s under-funded transport sector.
Indonesia is rich in natural resources, offers a huge labour pool and domestic market of consumers as well as favourable demographics for many types of manufacturing. But decrepit transport and energy infrastructure, investment laws that favour domestic companies, and institutionalised corruption have prevented the world’s fourth most populous country from attracting the foreign capital and expertise most experts agree it needs to accelerate economic growth. Read more here.
(Alex Lennane – The Loadstar)
Disruption is on its way, as the logistics industry finally goes hi-tech – but in a move not led by existing players. It is attracting technology start-ups that see an opportunity to create efficiencies and make complex booking processes easier. [...]
Last month, Freightos, an online network that claims to generate door-to-door quotes in seconds, appointed Robert Mylod, former Priceline CFO and head of worldwide strategy, to its board of directors. He is also managing partner of Annox Capital and a director of Dropbox and Redfin. In addition, Freightos also completed a financing round of $7.6m with investors including Annox Capital, Aleph, ICV and OurCrowd. Read more here.
(Corianne Egan – JOC)
At least seven carriers have suspended newly announced port congestion surcharges on cargo heading from Asia to the U.S. West Coast, likely resulting from fierce importer pushback and U.S. regulatory scrutiny.
CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, OOCL and U.S. Lines announced the suspension of port congestion surcharges today in customer advisories, and Mediterranean Shipping Co. told JOC.com that it had done the same. United Arab Shipping Co. and Cosco Container Lines customers told JOC.com that their respective surcharges were also repealed. The carriers were not available for immediate comment.
Carriers were expected to start collecting the additional fees from customers Monday. The lines suspending their surcharges, which amounted to as much as $1,000 per 40-foot container, did not reveal the reasoning behind the move. But the Nov. 14 announcements drew immediate ire from the FMC, the U.S maritime regulatory agency, and importers. Read more here.
A bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline failed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, sparing President Barack Obama from an expected veto of legislation that several fellow Democrats supported.
The measure fell just short of the 60 votes needed for passage, despite frantic last-minute lobbying by supporters, especially Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who faces a runoff election on Dec. 6. She has staked her hopes of winning a fourth Senate term on the Keystone gambit. Read more here.
• Republicans to Resurrect Keystone Pipeline Next Uear (AP)
• Obama’s Keystone Stance Unworthy of Great Neighbours (Globe & Mail)
• Could Obama Cut a Deal on the Keystone XL Pipeline? Don’t Rule it Out (FP)
The Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) recently announced that the 2015 version of the Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED) software will be available and ready for download when it is released on December 8, 2014. The current version of CAED will expire on January 30, 2015 at which point, only the 2015 version will be valid. Click here to read more.
(Business in Vancouver)
B.C. tech firms are among companies that stand to gain as country bolsters trade ties with Canada and the rest of the world
Wedged as it is between two Asian economic giants – China and Japan – South Korea sometimes gets overlooked by Canadian businesses as a place to invest or develop markets.
With 50 million people, South Korea’s population is not that much larger than Canada’s. But South Korea has something no other country in the world has: free trade agreements with 47 countries, including Canada, and is in the process of concluding a free trade agreement with China. Read more here.
Peak Season Craziness, West Coast Port Disruptions Add to Concerns over Airfreight Capacity Shortfalls
(Mark B. Solomon – DC Velocity)
Airfreight users, who had been dealing most of the year with a tightening market for capacity, are now also coping with what could be a late-peak season crush for airfreight services as disruptions at West Coast ports are pushing some businesses to shift their goods from ocean to air.
Tensions between the International Longshoremen & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) over negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement have been increasing over the past few weeks, and according to PMA, led to ILWU-orchestrated slowdowns at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, and Tacoma. On Tuesday, the slowdowns spread to the Port of Oakland, where dockworkers temporarily shut down a terminal operated by SSA Marine, a Seattle-based stevedoring, marine terminal operations, and intermodal management firm. Mike Zampa, a spokesman for the Port of Oakland, said late yesterday that workers have returned to their jobs and normal operations have resumed. Read more here.