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Delays Persist for U.S. Trade Agencies

The U.S. International Trade Commission announced on 29 January that the partial shutdown of the federal government has postponed publication of its studies by 35 days. The USITC report on the probable economic effects of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement was originally due by 15 March but the study may now be delayed until 18 April. Consideration of this report is a required step in the congressional trade agreement process under Trade Promotion Authority procedures and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee does not expect to pass the USMCA through his committee until after the report becomes available to his members. 

The U.S. Census Bureau is facing similar challenges and was recently forced to publish a new schedule for release of data, including international trade data. November 2018 trade data originally scheduled for 8 January release is now scheduled for release on 6 February. Coincidentally, calendar year 2017 international trade data was published by the Census Bureau on 6 February 2018. It is hoped that similar data for calendar year 2018 will not be delayed for a full month, although such statistics usually take a few extra days to be available since there are extra comparisons and checks that are completed by Census before their release.

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