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TPP Question and Answer: Legal Services

As part of USTR's Open Government Flagship Initiative, USTR.gov has been collecting comments and questions from the American public to be answered this week regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership. USTR thanks all those who have sent in questions and comments. The comments have been passed along to the TPP negotiators.

Today we have a question from Peter in Washington, DC:

“As a lawyer engaged in transnational transactions, I was pleased to see the U.S. enter into the FTAs with Australia (in particular) and Chile and Singapore, with their unique and useful provisions facilitating Mode 4 delivery of legal services. The special visas for Australians were particularly important and unique. How will these important developments in US trade and immigration law, that affect trade in legal services, be protected, expanded or incorporated into the TPP?”

USTR: “Thank you for your question. We know that many industries feel they benefit from the temporary entry provisions in some of our FTAs. One clarification, however: the special professionals admission category for Australia (the E-3 program) is the result of separate legislative action on the part of the U.S. Congress and is not part of, or related to, the U.S.– Australia FTA. We do not expect that the TPP negotiations will lead to any changes in the temporary entry provisions of our bilateral FTAs with Chile or Singapore, or affect the operation of the E-3 program for Australian professionals.”