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  • 11/15/2010 3:18 PM

    Ambassador Kirk just returned from Yokohama, Japan where he joined President Obama for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. This week’s trade spotlight will highlight the significance of the annual meeting.

    APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region. Because it is a non-binding, voluntary organization, APEC has the flexibility to take on pressing and new cutting-edge 21st century issues as they emerge. It originally started as an informal annual meeting and is now the primary dialogue between the 21 participating economies.

    The United States works within APEC to open markets in the Asia-Pacific region and connect them to American exporters, including our small businesses, ranchers, and farmers. This includes eliminating barriers to trade and investment, creating better business environments, and building a level economic playing field in the region that will help Americans compete and succeed. APEC initiatives also lay the foundation for high-standard, comprehensive trade agreements – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership – that will help the United States strengthen economic ties with the region.

    APEC members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam. These economies account for 44 percent of global trade, with U.S. goods exports to APEC countries totaling more than $600 billion in 2009. APEC economies also include some of the most important markets for U.S. agricultural exports. In 2009, the United States exported $71.5 billion of agricultural goods to APEC economies. In fact, eight of the top 10 U.S. agricultural export destinations in 2009 were APEC economies.

    By engaging with the emerging economies in APEC, the United States can increase exports and create high-paying, sustainable jobs for American workers.

  • 11/05/2010 3:49 PM

    On Thursday, Ambassador Kirk visited the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson co-administered the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee’s (TEPAC) fourth meeting of the Obama Administration. They discussed the link between trade policies and the environment, and how the two work to bolster the economy and support jobs. The committee’s agenda focused on the latest developments of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the United States’ hosting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2011, and the “green growth” agenda with environmental services and goods. They also discussed the ongoing Doha negotiations, and the Administration’s efforts on e-waste.

    During the meeting Ambassador Kirk updated the members on the latest with regards to the TPP negotiations, noting that this regional agreement is an “unprecedented opportunity to advance our economic interests in the critical Asia-Pacific region.” He also noted that both USTR and the EPA are committed to having high-quality environmental provisions in the TPP. Ambassador Kirk and Administrator Jackson both thanked the members of TEPAC for their submission of comments regarding TPP.

    Administrator Jackson spoke about the international priorities of EPA such as, combating climate change, improving air quality, expanding access to clean water and educating other countries about e-waste. She also spoke about the importance of continuing advancement and ingenuity by the U.S. when it comes to the development of clean energy technology and products. Leading the way, the United States’ green sector provides tremendous opportunity for domestic products to be exported globally. Administrator Jackson concluded this is another example of how to increase American exports and grow jobs, while supporting the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI).

  • 11/01/2010 3:04 PM

    Ambassador Kirk is meeting with the Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC) on Thursday. TEPAC is just one of the advisory committees that works with and advises USTR on trade policy.

    The citizen advisory committee system, established in 1974 by Congress, is designed to ensure U.S. trade policy is in line with the interests of the American public. Through the advisory system of 28 committees, with more than 700 total citizen advisers, Ambassador Kirk is able to incorporate citizens’ voices throughout each step of the trade negotiation process.

    The advisory committees are made up of industry leaders, small- and medium-sized business owners, representatives of non-profit organizations, and trade policy experts. They not only provide advice to USTR, but also serve as a conduit to the American public throughout the country.

    The primary purpose of the advisory committee system is to provide input and help to formulate negotiating standards for the United States based on the needs of America’s workers and businesses. They are a crucial sounding board for American trade policy.

    There are 3 tiers of advisory committees. The first tier is the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) and its members are appointed by the president. The next tier consists of four policy advisory committees, which are administered by USTR in conjunction with other members of the Cabinet. The final tier is the technical and sectoral advisory committees. These committees are defined as either industry or agriculture boards and named by USTR and the Secretaries of Commerce or Agriculture, respectively.

    The advisory boards also promote cooperation among the many agencies so that the Administration’s trade policies are reflective of the country’s needs as a whole.

    USTR administers the Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee with the Environmental Protection Agency (TEPAC). This week Ambassador Kirk and Administrator Lisa Jackson will be hosting the Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC). They will discuss trade policy with a focus on the environment.

    TEPAC boasts a highly qualified board of environmental activists and entrepreneurs involved in international business. They meet regularly to discuss USTR’s work in global trade relative to environmental issues. These committees, as well as the local roundtables Ambassador Kirk holds around the country with business leaders and workers, ensure that input from citizens and experts alike is taken into consideration.

    Ambassador Kirk looks forward to his meeting this week with TEPAC. A few of the issues that he and Administrator Jackson will be discussing with the members of the committee are: the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, the U.S. hosting of 2011 APEC meetings and green growth agenda, trade and climate, and e-waste. USTR continues to work to grow and establish new opportunities for international trade that reflect American values of environmentalism and entrepreneurialism. TEPAC’s continued assistance is valued by the Administration and the Ambassador.