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April

  • 04/30/2013 5:20 PM

    By Sanjana Dubey, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    This afternoon, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro addressed an audience of business leaders, Congressional and Obama Administration staff, and members of the diplomatic community at a luncheon sponsored by the Meridian International Center and several partners. At the event entitled “The U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): The Case for an Open Transatlantic Free Trade Area,” Ambassador Sapiro spoke on the significance of the proposed TTIP agreement. Her remarks followed keynote addresses from the Honorable José María Aznar, former President of Spain, and James W. Cicconi, Senior Executive Vice President for External and Legislative Affairs of AT&T Services, Inc.

    Ambassador Sapiro speaks on panelAmbassador Sapiro speaks at the event entitled “The U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and
    Investment Partnership (TTIP): The Case for an Open Transatlantic Free Trade Area.”

    Ambassador Sapiro emphasized the ambitious negotiating agenda of the proposed TTIP talks, which includes seeking full elimination of tariffs, substantial progress on reducing regulatory and other non-tariff barriers, and disciplines that address emerging challenges for global trade, such as state-owned enterprises and localization barriers. Ambassador Sapiro stated that the timing is ripe for this agreement and suggested that there is high political will for a successful negotiation on both sides of the Atlantic. She also mentioned last month’s formal notification by the Obama Administration to Congress of its intent to launch the TTIP negotiations and invited the audience to participate in the process through the Federal Register website, accessible here. Ambassador Sapiro concluded by recognizing the immensely successful economic relationship between the United States and the EU, and stated that the proposed Partnership can strengthen the contributions of trade and investment to job creation, growth, and competitiveness in both economies.

    To learn more about the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, click here.

  • 04/30/2013 2:07 PM

    By Laura Buffo, Office of Labor Affairs

    Representatives of the United States and Guatemala signed a robust enforcement plan last week to resolve concerns raised in a labor case brought by the United States under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The two countries signed the agreement, announced on April 11, 2013, following a legal review of the text for accuracy, clarity, and consistency of translation. This is the first labor case that the United States has brought to dispute settlement under a trade agreement.

    The 18-point Enforcement Plan is the result of extensive engagement and resolve by both governments. It includes concrete actions with specific time frames that Guatemala will implement within six months to improve labor law enforcement. Under the Enforcement Plan, Guatemala has committed to strengthen labor inspections, expedite and streamline the process of sanctioning employers and ordering remediation of labor violations, increase labor law compliance by exporting companies, improve the monitoring and enforcement of labor court orders, publish labor law enforcement information, and establish mechanisms to ensure that workers are paid what they are owed when factories close.

    The labor case is suspended while the Enforcement Plan is being implemented.

    Read more on the full Enforcement Plan here, and visit this page for more information about U.S.-Guatemala trade relations.

  • 04/26/2013 4:34 PM

    By Sanjana Dubey, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    This week, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for World Trade Organization (WTO) and Multilateral Affairs Mark Linscott spoke at an American Bar Association (ABA) conference session concerning the impact of free trade negotiations on future WTO rounds, along with representatives from Brazil and Canada. At the event, sponsored by the International Trade Committee of the ABA, Assistant USTR Linscott discussed the current state of the WTO Doha negotiations and implications of important regional initiatives.

    During the panel discussion, Linscott provided a historical overview on multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), noting that in the past, the system had proven flexible and dynamic in confronting challenges. He emphasized how critical it is for the WTO to deliver results at December’s Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in order to regain confidence in the ability of the WTO negotiate agreements. Linscott also suggested that regional and plurilateral initiatives, such as the USTR-led negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), should provide impetus to future WTO negotiations.

     To learn more about USTR’s involvement in the WTO, please visit the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Multilateral Affairs page, here.

  • 04/26/2013 2:22 PM
    Ambassador Marantis met in Rangoon today with the Chair and Secretary General of the National League of Democracy Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. He updated the Member of Parliament, renowned opposition leader and Nobel laureate on the possibilities of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between our countries and reinstatement of the country as a beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. The purpose of the meeting was to seek Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's views on the economic reform process in her country so far, and on how increased trade might benefit the broadest number of people there. Together, they talked of ways that trade and investment can help to lay a foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future.
  • 04/25/2013 1:07 PM

    Ambassador Marantis traveled today to Naypyidaw, the capital of Burma, to talk with officials about ways to reestablish and build trade and investment between our two countries.

    In meetings with Minister of the President’s Office U Soe Thane and Minister of Commerce U Win Myint, Ambassador Marantis focused on the possibility of launching talks toward a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between our two countries, as well as opportunities under the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative when their government assumes leadership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the year 2014.

    Ambassador Marantis also updated the officials on the recently initiated review of the country to determine eligibility for the United States’ Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) – a program through which many exported goods from developing countries are allowed into the United States duty-free in order to support economic growth and opportunities for people. In particular, he discussed with Deputy Minister of Labor U Myint Thein ongoing reforms as part of the path to GSP.

    Last November, President Obama became the first American President to visit this southeast Asian nation. In a speech at the University of Yangon, he applauded and encouraged reforms and promised the United States’ partnership in efforts for further growth and development.

    Tomorrow, Ambassador Marantis will meet with U.S. business leaders and speak at the American Center – to an audience of students and professors – about their country’s role in the history of trade, and what we can do together to advance bilateral, regional, and even global economic ties. Watch www.ustr.gov for the text of that speech.

  • 04/24/2013 5:44 PM

    By Roya Stephens, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    This week, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Services and Investment Christine Bliss discussed the importance of investment to the American economy and jobs during a panel discussion on Capitol Hill entitled “Foreign Investment: Is it Good for America?” The event, sponsored by Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, featured a panel of government, private sector, and union representatives, who discussed the benefits of and the need for international investment.

    AUSTR BlissAssistant U.S. Trade Representative Christine Bliss speaks at an event hosted by Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.

    During the discussion, Assistant USTR Bliss detailed the benefits of inward and outward investment to the American economy, including the promotion of domestic supply chains, increased exports of American goods, increased capital investment, and greater support for U.S. research and development. She also noted the boost that international investment provides to American workers by creating jobs, raising wages and improving productivity. The United States has a longstanding policy of openness to foreign investment, reflected in its generally open investment regime, the 40 bilateral investment treaties (BIT) currently in force, and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) investment chapters in force with 17 countries. USTR works hard to protect American investors and investments and ensures that they compete on a level playing field governed by the rule of law in foreign markets. Bliss also provided an overview of current investment negotiations, including the investment talks in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, as well as ongoing Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations with China, India, and Mauritius.

    To learn more about America’s investment policy and bilateral investment treaties, please visit USTR’s Services and Investment page here.

  • 04/23/2013 12:00 PM

    Ambassador Marantis continued work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Hanoi today, meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. With President Sang and in meetings with other key officials including Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, Ambassador Marantis continued to discuss issues that are becoming more and more important to resolve as TPP moves closer to conclusion - specifically, access to Vietnam's services sector for competitive American companies, and overall market access for American businesses wishing to trade with Vietnam and support jobs at home. 

    With Vietnam's Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Nguyen Minh Quang, Ambassador Marantis discussed TPP's groundbreaking proposals to combat illegal trade in wildlife and illegal logging, as well as to address fisheries subsidies; he reiterated that the United States expects a final TPP agreement to have high-standard, fully enforceable commitments on the environment as well as on labor rights. For more on U.S. conservation proposals in TPP, see our green paper.

    Two-way trade between the United States and Vietnam has grown from $1 billion in 2001 to $26 billion last year. The TPP can boost that growing trade further, supporting more American jobs through exports to Vietnamese consumers and through greater availability of affordable products that can contribute to finished goods Made-in-America for domestic sale or export.

    For more on the TPP and its opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers, farmers, and ranchers, visit www.ustr.gov/tpp.

  • 04/22/2013 8:53 AM

    Ambassador Marantis arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam today to meet with officials there about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP negotiations - which are aimed at a high-standard, comprehensive agreement that will support American jobs by liberalizing trade among member Asia-Pacific nations - are at a very advanced stage, and minister-level officials for all the member countries committed this weekend to talk more with one another to make sure that key issues are resolved.

    As part of that effort, Ambassador Marantis today met with the head of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, Dang Ngoc Tung, to stress how important it is to the United States that the final TPP agreement include strong, enforceable labor provisions - including a responsibility to adopt and maintain the five core International Labor Organization standards on workers' rights, including the freedom to associate. 

    Separately, Ambassador Marantis also expressed to Vietnamese Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong the need for progress on investment issues that will improve access for U.S. investors - who support jobs back in the United States. Ambassador Marantis also discussed the importance of high ambition in the TPP, which will allow for greater flow of goods and services among TPP countries. 

    ADM in VietnamAmbassador Marantis meets with Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong

    The 11-member TPP - which is set to expand to include Japan following the successful conclusion of the domestic processes of the current TPP members - includes countries at varying levels of development. While all TPP partners are expected to meet the agreement's standards, the United States has committed to work with Vietnam to provide technical advice and assistance and to consider other flexibilities that will help it meet the high standards of the TPP - which will increase the TPP's potential to support jobs and economic growth in every member country.

  • 04/18/2013 3:02 PM

    By Sanjana Dubey, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, met with a delegation from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) this afternoon to discuss agricultural trade issues. The NCBA delegation included approximately 25 members from across the United States who engaged with Ambassador Siddiqui in a dialogue about bilateral beef trade with China, Japan, and Russia, as well as updates on agricultural issues under the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

    AIS NCBAAmbassador Siddiqui speaks with members of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

    During the discussion, Ambassador Siddiqui emphasized USTR’s progress towards increasing global market access for U.S. agricultural products, and its efforts to eliminate trade barriers inconsistent with scientific standards for American beef products. He also highlighted the growth of U.S. beef exports, and exciting prospects for more agricultural trade with new trading partners.

    The NCBA delegation was briefed on developments related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, including new potential opportunities in beef markets should Japan enter the negotiation. Ambassador Siddiqui also recommended that the members of the NCBA provide input on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement by commenting on USTR’s April 1 Federal Register notice.

    Ensuring global market access for U.S. beef products remains a high priority for USTR. U.S. beef exports totaled $5.5 billion in 2012, and the beef industry supports a significant number of American jobs. To learn more about beef and other agricultural exports, please click here.

  • 04/17/2013 2:24 PM

    Today, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Bill Jackson and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asian Affairs Mara Burr participated in an interactive webcast presentation on trade opportunities for Pakistan under the U.S. GSP trade preference program. The event, hosted by the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., was webcast live to 11 sites in Pakistan, including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, and Sialkot. Following an overview presentation by Deputy Assistant USTR Jackson, the panel, which included Jackson, Burr, and Pakistan Embassy Trade Minister Muhammad Agha, fielded questions from Pakistani participants about the GSP program and U.S.-Pakistan trade. Representatives from the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, several Pakistani chambers of commerce, and Pakistani business associations were among the many participants in the live web event.

    The GSP program promotes economic development in the developing world by providing duty-free entry into the U.S. market for up to 5,000 products from 127 beneficiary countries, including Pakistan. Pakistan exported $195 million in products to the United States duty-free under GSP in 2012, including jewelry, plastic products, tools and cutlery, and some leather goods.

     

  • 04/17/2013 2:14 PM

    By Camille Sheehan, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    As part of its global initiative to address localization barriers to trade, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is leading efforts to consider the impacts of local content requirements (LCRs) on regional integration and economic growth at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI). The CTI, meeting last week in Surabaya, Indonesia, held an in-depth discussion on LCRs, which require businesses to produce a certain level of content (materials, parts, etc.) within the country where the end product will be sold. Last week’s CTI meeting marked the first time the economies of APEC collectively addressed LCRs to gain a better understanding of how they distort trade and investment flows and decrease the competitiveness of domestic industries.

    Gary Clyde Hufbauer with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Kristin Paulson with General Electric’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Government Affairs and Policy group, and Wei Fang of Kitakyushu University in Japan made presentations to the members of the committee, many of which focused on new cases of LCR implementation around the world. The presentations detailed the negative effect of LCRs on commercial opportunities and competitiveness, and suggested alternative measures that economies could use in place of these onerous requirements. An APEC endorsement of alternative measures that facilitate trade and investment is particularly important in light of the estimate by the Peterson Institute that LCRs implemented since 2009 are estimated to have a total negative impact of $2.8 trillion on global trade (17 percent of total global trade) in 2010.

    USTR strives to eliminate LCRs and other non-tariff barriers in all of its negotiations and partnerships, because they limit GDP growth potential, increase costs to U.S.-based businesses, and impair international trade and investment. The next meeting of the CTI will be held in Medan, Indonesia, and will explore alternative measures to help APEC economies achieve their domestic economic objectives.

    Ambassador Demetrios Marantis will lead the U.S. delegation at the APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade next week, where trade ministers from APEC countries will address LCRs and other related trade and investment topics.

  • 04/12/2013 6:15 PM

    By Sanjana Dubey, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    Many are heralding today’s Obama Administration endorsement of Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. This endorsement by the United States marks the successful completion of consultations between both nations concerning Japan’s readiness to meet the TPP’s high standards, and to address bilateral issues of concern. A final decision on Japan’s membership in the TPP will require a consensus by all 11 current TPP members. Ambassador Demetrios Marantis stated that Japan’s entry into this ambitious initiative will benefit the United States, Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, while supporting American jobs and upholding core U.S. values. Here’s a sampling of comments welcoming the news:

    “This is encouraging news. Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks presents an extraordinary opportunity that could open up huge new markets to American goods and services. With Japan included, the TPP would account for nearly 40 percent of the global economy and provide a major shot in the arm to America’s manufacturing, business and agriculture industries. It will mean more jobs and faster growth in Montana and all across America.”

    - Sen. Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance

    “This is an important and welcome development. American goods and products have faced market access barriers to Japan for decades. Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an historic opportunity to open up one of the world’s largest export markets to the benefit of both of our countries. By supporting Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Administration must believe that Japan has the ability and political will to meet the high-standard, comprehensive commitments that have long defined U.S. trade agreements. I sincerely hope that is the case. I look forward to consulting closely with the Administration to ensure that our negotiations with Japan achieve real market access for American goods and services.”

    - Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance

    http://www.finance.senate.gov/newsroom/ranking/release/?id=331ce195-736d-4eee-b63c-b7ce6712f42b

    “I intend to continue my intensive consultations with the Administration on the TPP agreement. The bottom line is Japan must address its longstanding tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports – in particular on autos, insurance, and agriculture. I will not support Japan’s entry into TPP unless we obtain airtight assurances that Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations will neither diminish the comprehensive and ambitious nature of these negotiations nor delay the goal of concluding the negotiations this year.”

    - Rep. Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=328612

    “Japan’s participation in the TPP could greatly benefit U.S. companies, workers, farmers, and ranchers, but only if Japan meaningfully addresses its barriers to U.S. exports, particularly in the agriculture sector. I will work closely with USTR as this process continues. Japan must be prepared to meet TPP's highly ambitious and comprehensive obligations without slowing down the negotiations.”

    - Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the Trade Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=328612

    “I congratulate Japanese and American leaders for taking this important step in deepening our already strong trade and diplomatic relationships. I look forward to a comprehensive agreement that lowers tariffs and includes science-based standards for market access. Japan recently removed some barriers to U.S. beef – we should build on that progress with a strong agreement that benefits our economy, farmers, and workers, as well as our negotiating partners.”

    - Sen. Mike Johanns

    http://www.johanns.senate.gov/public/?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=55222971-f06c-4128-aee4-ab212633fbd0

    “Today’s announcement marks a key development in the TPP negotiations. We are pleased that after months of bilateral discussions, Japan has expressed its readiness to put everything on the table and meet the high standards of a comprehensive TPP agreement. It is essential that the U.S. insist on that principle as a cornerstone for moving forward with TPP negotiations. The new framework includes real progress to open up Japan’s market for U.S. businesses, including in the automotive and insurance sectors and nontariff measures.”

    - Rep. Ron Kind and the Chairs of the New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force

    http://meeks.house.gov/press-release/new-dems-encouraged-japan-entering-tpp-negotiations

    “Today’s announcement represents a positive development which could expand market access for Nebraska exporters in one of the world’s largest economies. While Japan has shown progress and signaled a willingness to recognize science-based food standards, more work is needed. It is imperative the Administration and Congress continue to seek assurances Japan wants a comprehensive agreement in line with the ambitious goals established in current TPP negotiations. We cannot undermine gains in market access by allowing non-tariff trade barriers to prevent Nebraska producers from exporting their quality products.”

    - Rep. Adrian Smith

    http://adriansmith.house.gov/press-release/smith-statement-japan-and-trans-pacific-partnership

    “The agreement that U.S. negotiators have reached with Japan on a robust package of actions to address longstanding trade barriers is a positive step forward. As a result, the Chamber welcomes Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations pending agreement from remaining current TPP members."

    - Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    http://www.uschamber.com/press/releases/2013/april/chamber-applauds-us-announcement-welcoming-japan-trans-pacific-partnership

    “As the world’s third largest economy and a vital economic and security partner of the United States, Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations is a game changer that will enhance the agreement’s economic and strategic benefits for the United States and other participants while helping revitalize the Japanese economy. The combination of “Abenomics” and Japan’s entry into TPP presents a unique and historic opportunity to strengthen U.S.-Japan economic and strategic relations even more. We commend President Obama and Prime Minister Abe for taking this bold step.”

    - Charles Lake, Chairman of the U.S.-Japan Business Council

    “The U.S. wheat industry welcomes the announcement today by President Barack Obama that the United States will support Japan’s bid to become the 12th country to join Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. Japan imports more U.S. wheat on average than any other country and the boards of directors for U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) passed a resolution in November 2011 stating support for Japan to join TPP.”

    - U.S. Wheat Associates

    http://www.uswheat.org/newsEvents/newsRelease/doc/20A27001F433DB7F85257B4B00479A55?OpenDocument

    "Business Roundtable applauds the U.S. government for welcoming Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations, and commends Japan's agreement to meet the high standards of the TPP. Japan is the world's third largest economy and its inclusion in the TPP would help maximize the benefits of the agreement to U.S. economic growth, goods and services exports and job creation. Business Roundtable supports Japan joining the TPP and continues to urge negotiators to pursue an ambitious and expeditious conclusion to the TPP."

    - Doug Oberhelman, Chairman & CEO, Caterpillar Inc., and Chair of Business Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee

    http://businessroundtable.org/news-center/business-roundtable-statement-on-japan-and-the-trans-pacific-partnersh/

    “Japan greatly enhances the potential value of the TPP to U.S. dairy producers and processors. Japan is the third-largest economy in the world and already a major dairy importer. Reducing excessive tariffs and removing non-tariff barriers to trade will significantly increase U.S. dairy export opportunities, which helps drive overall U.S. dairy industry growth.”

    - Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and trade policy, U.S. Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation

    http://www.dairyherd.com/dairy-news/latest/USDEC-NMPF-commend-decision-to-welcome-Japan-into-TPP-talks-202736431.html

    “The addition of Japan to the negotiations will exponentially increase the importance of the TPP to pork producers and to other sectors of the U.S. economy. Japan’s entry into the trade talkswill spur interest in the TPP among other countries in Asia and Latin America, and it will signal to other nations that efforts to negotiate more open and transparent trading arrangements will continue, even as multilateral efforts to do so are stymied.”

    - Randy Spronk, President of the National Pork Producers Council

    http://nationalhogfarmer.com/business/nppc-praises-acceptance-japan-tpp-talks

    “Cattlemen and women are encouraged by the Obama administration’s announcement to include Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) negotiations. Japan is an important ally to the United States and we hope this will strengthen the ties between our two nations. We urge the U.S. government and the government of Japan to continue working together to establish international trade standards based on sound science and market-driven principles. The TPP has the potential to be a new era in global trade where all TPP countries can compete for consumer demand without the hindrance of protectionism.”

    - Bob McCan, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

    http://www.beefusa.org/newsreleases1.aspx?newsid=2885

    "We applaud Japan's inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Japan plays a large role in global financial markets and their inclusion in TPP negotiations will provide a more comprehensive agreement that will address barriers in financial services. SIFMA believes that for a 21st century TPP agreement, it must include a robust financial services chapter. Free trade agreements and the market access they provide are vital for the continued success of the financial services industry, its customers, shareholders and employees in the United States. The industry also plays a key role in the U.S. economy and should remain an integral part of our current trade agenda."

    - Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., Acting President and CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

    http://www.sifma.org/newsroom/2013/sifma-statement-on-japan-joining-the-trans-pacific-partnership/

    “Japan is one of the United States’ most important export markets for consumer goods. Their addition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is a boon to our efforts to craft a next-generation regional trade agreement that will liberalize trade and investment to the mutual benefit of TPP member countries for years to come. Facilitating free and fair trade opportunities that strengthen and diversify our economy, create jobs and provide consumers with the greatest selection of products at affordable prices is one of GMA’s top priorities. Japan’s participation in the TPP aligns with these objectives by further opening Japanese markets to American-made food, beverage and consumer products. We welcome Japan to the TPP and look forward to growing our already strong trading relationship with them.”

    - Pamela G. Bailey, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association President and CEO

  • 04/12/2013 5:03 PM

    Today, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro co-chaired a meeting of senior U.S. and EU officials on the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC). The participants reviewed progress since the last meeting of the TEC in November 2011 and discussed upcoming work. Ambassador Sapiro co-chaired the meeting with her European Commission counterpart, Jean-Luc Demarty, Director-General for Trade, and Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Kathleen Doherty. Representatives of the various agencies involved in the work of the TEC took part, including officials from the Departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, Energy, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and Budget.

    Ambassador Sapiro, Assistant Secretary Doherty, and DG Demarty welcomed agency plans to accelerate ongoing cooperation, noting in particular the upcoming launch of e-vehicle interoperability labs in Chicago and in Italy, and e-Health Week in May 2013, where officials will discuss implementation of activities associated with a roadmap on interoperability of electronic patient records. They reviewed current exchanges and policy coordination in the area of raw materials. They called for new work in areas including but not limited to emerging innovative sectors, such as nanotechnology, cloud computing, and advanced chemical management, which have high potential to produce increased jobs and growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Ambassador Sapiro and her counterparts affirmed that the TEC is a valuable tool for increasing transatlantic economic integration that complements other bilateral initiatives, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and the Energy Council.

    The Transatlantic Economic Council was created by a mandate from the 2007 U.S.-EU Summit, which laid the foundation for a growth-driven agenda foreseeing great dialogue and cooperation. The TEC is co-chaired by the White House Deputy National Special Advisor for International Economic Affairs, Michael Froman, and European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht.

    To learn more about the Transatlantic Economic Council, click here.

  • 04/11/2013 1:51 PM

    By Roya Stephens, Office of Public and Media Affairs 

    This week, Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis spoke at the Capitol Hill launch of the Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade (BCTT), a coalition of companies and multi-sector industry organizations created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to build support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).  Ambassador Marantis joined Members of Congress, Congressional committee staffers, members of the European Parliament, and business organizations at the event, and offered his outlook on the prospects of the planned agreement in his remarks.

    The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership seeks to strengthen the U.S.-EU economic relationship, support new jobs, spur economic growth, and boost competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic.   Ambassador Marantis discussed some of the shared U.S. and EU objectives for the proposed agreement, including elimination of tariffs, reduction of regulatory and non-tariff barriers, and provisions that address emerging challenges for global trade.   Ambassador Marantis closed by expressing his conviction that the U.S. and EU economic relationship could be an even more productive source of trade, jobs, and growth if the TTIP negotiations are successful.

    The U.S.-EU economic relationship accounts for one-third of total goods and services trade and nearly half of global economic output. A successfully negotiated TTIP would boost economic growth in the U.S. and the EU and add to the more than 13 million American and European jobs already supported by transatlantic trade and investment. The partnership would also further open markets to increase the $459 billion in U.S. goods and services exported to the EU, address non-tariff barriers that impede goods and services trade, and promote transparency and cooperation in regulations and standards. To learn more about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, click here. To learn more about the Business Coalition of Transatlantic Trade, please visit its website here.

  • 04/10/2013 4:51 PM

    By Sanjana Dubey, Office of Public and Media Affairs 

    In today’s opening session of the two-day United States-European Union High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum (HLRCF), Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro addressed an audience of American and European government officials and stakeholders. The session focused on the concerns of stakeholders from a wide spectrum of sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and services. Ambassador Sapiro characterized the discussion session as an excellent platform to assess how the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may reduce costs associated with regulatory differences that impede trade. Over the duration of the two-day session, U.S. and EU representatives will address several topics selected by stakeholders, including medical devices, cosmetics, chemicals, and automobiles.

    AMS HLRFAmbassador Sapiro addresses the U.S.-EU High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum

    In addition to addressing U.S.-EU regulatory cooperation, Ambassador Sapiro also discussed the progress leading up to the formal negotiation of the TTIP, including President Obama’s State of the Union announcement, and USTR’s March 20th formal announcement to Congress of its intent to begin the required 90-day consultation period that precedes each trade negotiation. During this period, USTR will consult with Congress and solicit comments from interested stakeholders. Ambassador Sapiro emphasized that these discussions help to ensure that the Administration’s negotiating priorities and positions on the TTIP are fully informed, broadly supported, and representative of the national interest. A successfully concluded TTIP negotiation would represent one of the monumental trade negotiations in history, Ambassador Sapiro said, and would build on the already robust U.S.-EU trade relationship.

    USTR will host a public hearing on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement at the end of May. Members of the public can submit and review comments relating to this hearing here.

  • 04/10/2013 3:33 PM

    Director of Environment and Natural Resources Sarah Stewart travelled to Lima, Peru last week for the sixth meeting of the Sub-Committee on Forest Sector Governance. The Sub-Committee was established under the Forest Sector Annex of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement’s Environment Chapter. During the meeting, Sub-Committee members reviewed progress made to implement the Forest Sector Annex, including the development of a prototype for an information system that will track and verify the chain of custody for wood harvested in Peru´s forests; the adoption of laws and administrative procedures for management, supervision and issuance of permits for timber species exports covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); and Peru’s efforts to develop regulations to implement its new Forestry and Wildlife Law (in relation to the actions outlined in the Forest Sector Annex).

    Stewart also participated in the third meeting of the Environmental Cooperation Commission (ECC), where members reviewed ongoing and future environmental cooperation activities that support implementation of the Forest Sector Annex. Members of the ECC also discussed activities to support the January 2013 Joint Action Plan agreed upon by both countries, which focuses on deepening ongoing cooperation with respect to the management of bigleaf mahogany and Spanish cedar.


    The meetings were chaired by (from left to right): Antonio González, Director of Cooperation and International Negotiations, Peruvian Ministry of Environment;
    Diego Urbina, Director for North America and Europe, Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR);
    Sarah Stewart, Director for Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative;
    Rob Wing, Chief for Environment and Trade, Office of Environmental Quality and Transboundary Issues,
    U.S. Department of State. Photo Courtesy of the Government of Peru

    Following the closed session meetings, Stewart participated in a public session with over twenty Peruvian stakeholders, ranging from non-governmental organizations to private sector representatives. Stewart acknowledged the significant progress Peru has made in its forestry reform efforts, and reiterated the commitment of the United States to working with Peru to address remaining challenges and realize further achievements. She highlighted the importance of public engagement in U.S. trade agreements, and welcomed a robust question and answer session.

    Public meeting
    Photo Courtesy of the Government of Peru

    Further details about the meetings can be found in the Joint Communiqué issued by both Governments.

    Background

    The Annex on Forest Sector Governance, part of the Environment Chapter of the U.S.-Peru trade agreement, reflects the commitment of both countries to take concrete actions to enhance forest sector governance, promote legal trade in timber products, combat trade associated with illegal logging and illegal trade in wildlife, and further sustainable management of forest resources.

  • 04/06/2013 4:41 PM

    By Camille Sheehan, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    Cambridge, MA - Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs Florizelle Liser spoke on the U.S.-Africa trade relationship today at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s 2013 Black Policy Conference. Ms. Liser, whose office coordinates, develops, and implements U.S. trade policy for Africa, addressed the current trends and changing dynamics in U.S. trade and investment policy towards sub-Saharan Africa.

    In her remarks, Assistant USTR Liser mentioned that Africa is an increasingly important market for U.S. firms and small businesses. In fact, six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are found in Africa. In 2012, U.S. and sub-Saharan African goods trade totaled $72 billion, and U.S. exports to the region were up almost seven percent from the year before. A recent McKinsey and Co. study found that African countries, compared to other developing nations, offer the highest rate of return on foreign direct investment. That high return on investment could account for the billions of dollars (currently almost $80 billion per year) in private investment flowing into the region in recent years.

    The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Liser said, is implementing several trade and investment initiatives in Africa, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well as the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) for sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA, which provides duty-free entry into the United States for almost all products of sub-Saharan African beneficiary countries, has served as the cornerstone of U.S. engagement with sub-Saharan Africa on trade and investment. The program has mutually benefitted all Parties by supporting economic growth in Africa, and by fostering an improved African business climate that is much more conducive for U.S. investments and exports.

    The PPD, President Obama’s strategy for sub-Saharan Africa, calls for an increased U.S. focus on expanding trade and investment in the region by (1) promoting an enabling environment for trade and investment; (2) improving economic governance; (3) promoting regional integration; (4) expanding African capacity to effectively access and benefit from global markets; and (5) encouraging U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa.

    In closing, Assistant USTR Liser encouraged students to work collaboratively with African businesses and governments to share knowledge, establish commercial opportunities, and exchange information. “Africa is a trade and investment destination that can no longer be ignored,” she said, “and I hope that you’ll help Africa to fulfill the promise of a new century as we continue to build shared prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.”

  • 04/04/2013 1:30 PM

    By Roya Stephens, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    Washington, D.C. - Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Affairs Wendy Cutler visited the Woodrow Wilson International Center this week to speak at a panel discussion on U.S. economic cooperation with Korea and the broader Asia-Pacific region. At the event, entitled “South Korea and the U.S. Pivot to Asia,” Cutler gave an overview of the important role Korea plays in the United States’ engagement with the region.

    The already strong U.S.-Korea economic relationship has been bolstered by recent developments like the smooth implementation of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, also known as KORUS, which entered into force just over a year ago. Cutler served as the Chief Negotiator for the agreement and called it a core pillar of U.S.-Korea economic relations that has spurred cooperation on other fronts. For instance, the two countries have cooperated closely in APEC and have also been working together increasingly to expand trade in services through the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which includes a diverse group of twenty-one partners.

    Cutler speaks on Woodrow Wilson Center panelAssistant USTR Cutler speaks at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

    Before concluding, Assistant USTR Cutler addressed progress being made in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and noted the similarities between the high standard KORUS agreement and the TPP, as well as the benefits of TPP membership. She also discussed how USTR is looking forward to working with Korea’s new Park Geun-hye Administration to advance mutual economic priorities, including support for small and medium-sized businesses seeking to compete in the international market.

    Last year, the U.S. and Korea shared $101 billion in total two way goods trade. The top U.S. exports to Korea were machinery, aircraft, and optical and medical instruments, while top imports from Korea were cars, electrical machinery, and mineral fuel. To learn more about U.S. engagement with Korea and the Asia-Pacific region, please click here.

  • 04/02/2013 6:25 PM

    This morning, Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), delivered a presentation to a meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento, CA. Approximately 75 attendees were on hand to hear Ambassador Siddiqui speak, including the 15-member board composed of agricultural association leaders, senior state governmental representatives, and individual growers and producers.

    Ambassador Siddiqui discussed key components of USTR’s 2013 trade agenda, and how they can impact California’s agriculture sector. He emphasized the critical overall role U.S. agriculture plays in boosting exports and supporting jobs here at home, and highlighted 2012’s record agricultural exports of $145 billion and agricultural trade surplus of $42 billion.

    Ambassador Siddiqui went on to discuss the continuing implementation of new U.S. trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama, and their collective positive effect on California’s exports. He noted prominent California agricultural products such as wines, cherries, and almonds that will benefit as a result of the gains in market access contained in these new agreements, and detailed USTR’s ongoing efforts to create new market opportunities through the framework of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). This comprehensive, high-standard agreement seeks to create significant new export opportunities for U.S. agricultural producers.

    Ambassador Siddiqui’s California itinerary also included a roundtable discussion in Sacramento with a diverse range of California-focused agricultural trade associations, boards, commissioners, and other agricultural stakeholders, which was co-hosted by the California Farm Bureau. In his discussions with stakeholders, Ambassador Siddiqui detailed U.S. efforts to reduce and eliminate barriers to agricultural trade and to level the playing field for American agricultural producers, and encouraged the participants to read USTR’s 2013 Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures.

  • 04/02/2013 10:22 AM

    By Brakeyshia Samms, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    This past March was Women’s History Month. From career negotiators to those who advise the work of USTR, women work year round to advise, negotiate, and execute the President’s trade agenda. This weekly trade spotlight will recognize the contributions of female members on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) and their commitment to representing U.S. commercial and economic interests in trade policy.

    Throughout its 50 years in existence, the men and women of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) have played an important role in the creation and enforcement of U.S. trade policy. The Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) was established by Congress under the Trade Act of 1974 to advise the President and USTR on matters of trade policy (and its intersection with commercial and economic interests). ACTPN’s members represent key sectors of the economy that are influenced by trade, including state and municipal governments, labor and agricultural groups, small businesses, retail and service industries, goods suppliers and consumers. The current ACTPN committee has four serving female members: Jill Appell, Bobbi Brown, Pamela G. Bailey, and Sandra Kennedy. Each of these women has experience, perspective, and expertise in their respective fields, which helps them to effectively advise President Obama and USTR on various trade issues.

    Jill Appell is the former President of the National Pork Producers Council, and held the same title for the Illinois Pork Producers Association. She also served as a member of the Illinois Governor's Task Force that helped to write the Livestock Management Facilities Act, which regulates livestock facilities in Illinois. She served as Illinois State Director for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Office during the Clinton Administration, in addition to serving on task forces for the Illinois Farm Bureau. Ms. Appell is currently a member of the USDA Farm Service Agency, the Illinois State Technical Committee, as well as the USDA Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade of Animals and Animal Products.

    Bobbi Brown is the Founder and CCO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Established in 1991 and acquired by Estée Lauder Companies in 1995, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has evolved into a full range of color cosmetics, fragrance, skincare, tools and accessories with a global presence in 60 countries. A New York Times bestselling author, Brown has written seven beauty and lifestyle books, and is the beauty editor of NBC's Today Show and the Contributing Beauty & Lifestyle Editor of Health magazine.

    Pamela G. Bailey is the President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Bailey served in the White House Department of Health and Human Services from 1970 to 1999, and later became the President and CEO of the world’s largest industry group for the medical technology sector, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, from 1999 to 2005. She is currently a director of Greatbatch Technologies, Inc., which produces medical device components. She is also on the board of the Reagan-Udall Foundation, a 501(c)(3) created by Congress to advance the science and research mission of FDA and GS-1US, which administers the international system of supply chain standards in the US.

    Sandra Kennedy is the President of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). Under her leadership, RILA has grown from a niche trade association into the primary trade association for America’s largest and most innovative retail brands. RILA members account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad. Prior to joining RILA, Ms. Kennedy served as Director of the Leadership Dialogue Series for Accenture, a global management consulting and technology services firm. From 1993 to 2000, she was Senior Vice President of membership services for the National Retail Federation (NRF).

    USTR commends these women and their fellow ACTPN committee members for their dedication and service to trade. Their work on trade policy with the President and USTR helps to advance global trade, and benefits American consumers and producers.

    To learn more the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations please click here.