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January

  • 01/31/2013 6:50 PM

    This week, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis and senior USTR officials are in Santiago, Chile, and Lima, Peru for meetings with senior government officials and U.S. private sector representatives in both countries to discuss ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and other trade issues. This Weekly Trade Spotlight focuses on U.S. trade with Chile and Peru and the TPP.

    From auto manufacturers to services providers, U.S. businesses and workers benefit from our trade and investment relationships with South American partners Chile and Peru. The United States has comprehensive bilateral trade agreements with both countries, and along with the United States and eight other members, Chile and Peru are participating in negotiations toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 21st century trade agreement that will increase trade among fast-growing economies throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

    The U.S.-Peru trade agreement facilitates two-way trade in goods and services, and provides a secure and predictable legal framework for investors as well as strong intellectual property protections in both countries. The U.S.-Peru trade agreement was also the first agreement to include historic commitments to protect labor rights and the environment. U.S. exports to Peru are up 35 percent since the agreement entered into force in 2009. In 2011, U.S. goods exports to Peru totaled $8.3 billion, which contributed to a U.S. goods trade surplus with Peru of $1.7 billion. Top U.S. export categories included: Machinery ($2.0 billion), Mineral Fuel (oil) ($1.6 billion), Electrical Machinery ($739 million), Plastic ($556 million), and Vehicles ($430 million).

    The U.S.-Chile trade agreement has dramatically expanded two-way trade between our countries; since it took effect on January 1, 2004, U.S. exports to Chile are up 489 percent. In addition to eliminating tariffs on goods and reducing barriers to trade in services, the agreement provides for more IP protection, regulatory transparency, and nondiscrimination in digital products trade. It also commits the United States and Chile to maintain laws that prohibit anticompetitive business conduct, and requires effective enforcement of labor and environmental provisions. In 2011, U.S. exports to Chile totaled $16 billion, which contributed to a $7 billion bilateral goods trade surplus for the United States. Top U.S. export categories included: Mineral Fuel (oil) ($5.0 billion), Machinery ($3.0 billion), Vehicles ($1.6 billion), Electrical Machinery ($1.1 billion).

    As countries that are participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, Chile, Peru, and the United States all share the TPP vision to achieve a high-standard, 21st century regional trade agreement. Collectively, TPP countries would comprise the largest goods and services export market of the United States. And there is room to grow: the TPP is the most promising platform for constructing a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, including countries across the Asia-Pacific region. U.S. goods exports to the Asia-Pacific region totaled $895 billion in 2011, representing 60 percent of total U.S. goods exports to the world. Our strong bilateral trade relationships with Peru and Chile and the conclusion of a next-generation TPP agreement will continue to support growing regional trade and additional jobs here at home.

  • 01/29/2013 3:27 PM

    By Roya Stephens, USTR Office of Public and Media Affairs

    Members of Congress and beef industry representatives are heralding a new agreement to expand access for U.S. beef and beef products in Japan. Under the new agreement, Japan will allow the import of American cattle less than 30 months of age, up from a previous 20 month limit, among other changes. The new agreement is estimated to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional U.S. beef exports to Japan in the coming years, and will boost the American agricultural industry. Ambassador Kirk described the agreement as a significant and historic step in expanding U.S. beef trade with Japan, and a way to grow American exports and jobs at home. Here’s a sampling of what others are saying so far:

    “This is a win for ranchers in Montana and across the country and will mean more exports and more jobs here in the U.S... Japan is a huge market for our beef exports, and I’m thrilled it’s finally taken a big step toward accepting sound science and welcoming more of our exports. The simple fact is American beef is among the safest in the world, and the next step is for Japan to drop age-based limits altogether.”

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

    Full Statement Here

    “I applaud the administration for working closely with our trade partners in Japan to address barriers on U.S. beef exports and pave the way for creating new agricultural jobs here at home… We produce the world’s safest and highest quality beef and countries like Japan represent significant export opportunities, bolstering the brand of American agriculture around the world. Today’s announcement represents a major and promising step forward.”

    - Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

    Full Statement Here

    “I am pleased our Kansas ranchers have additional access to this critical market. After two years of drought, this is certainly welcome news, especially in the long term, for U.S. beef producers. While this is a big step forward, I encourage Japan to reopen its markets to all U.S. beef products regardless of age or boneless status in order to be consistent with internationally recognized standards.”

    - Sen. Pat Roberts, Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

    Full Statement Here

    “This is great news for cattlemen and women and is a significant milestone in our trading relationship with Japan… Japan is a great market for U.S. beef and we look forward to continuing to meet Japanese consumer demands. This move is an important step forward in paving the way toward greater export opportunities to one of our largest export markets.”

    - J.D. Alexander, President of National Cattleman’s Beef Association

    Full Statement Here

    “This is an extremely positive development that successfully addresses one of the longest standing issues between our two governments... The U.S. beef industry – from farmers and ranchers to exporters – will benefit from increased exports to this premium market. At the same time, the trade and consumers in Japan will see a wider variety of beef products and improved availability of U.S. beef in the retail and food service channels.”

    - Philip Seng, President and CEO of U.S. Meat Export Federation

    Full Statement Here

    “Historically, Japan was the number 1 market for U.S. beef exports at approximately $1.4 billion… Ranchers across the country are relieved to see these restrictions finally lifted, so they can again begin providing Japanese consumers with more of the safe and wholesome beef they want.”

    - Joe Parker, Jr., President of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

    Full Statement Here

    “This announcement is well-deserved and long overdue…Accolades go to USDA and USTR for paving the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan after these many years.”

    - Barry Carpenter, CEO of the North American Meat Association

    Full Statement Here

  • 01/24/2013 5:14 PM

    Members of Congress and stakeholders are voicing their support for President Obama’s decision to enter negotiations for an international services trade agreement (ISA). In a letter to Congressional leaders last week, Ambassador Kirk described the Administration’s intent to enter negotiations aimed at promoting international trade in services and supporting increased U.S. service exports and jobs. Below is a sampling of what others are saying so far – check back for periodic updates.

    “The U.S. leads the world in exporting services – and to stay competitive, we need to keep it that way. As the global economy evolves, services exports like tourism and transportation must be an important part of our trade agenda to create jobs and strengthen our economy here at home.”

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

    Full Statement Here

    “American service companies are the most competitive in the world, and they face a range of barriers in foreign countries that must be addressed. I am encouraged that countries committed to services trade liberalization have come together to negotiate a new services agreement. I look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that this agreement ends critical services market access barriers so we can continue to expand opportunities for U.S. exports and, most importantly, create new, good-paying jobs here at home.”

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

    Full Statement Here

    “The ISA is a critical trade priority for me because it holds great promise for job creation in all sectors of the U.S. economy, including manufacturing and agriculture, as well as services, and can help rebuild momentum for a global agenda of trade liberalization. I am impressed with the group of 21 WTO members thus far that plan to join the negotiations, representing dynamic developing and developed markets for U.S. exports. We must now get about the work of reducing the substantial barriers that U.S. services exporters face around the globe.”

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

    Full Statement Here

    “I am encouraged that the United States will be negotiating an International Services Agreement with other interested WTO Members,” said Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin. “The U.S. services market is already one of the most open markets in the world, and our service suppliers are among the most competitive in the world. The purpose of the negotiation must be to make progress that eluded the Doha Round discussions in ensuring reciprocal market access abroad for U.S. service suppliers. It can help to establish new rules to address critical emerging issues, such as the trade-distorting actions of state-owned enterprises. This Administration has played a leadership role in steering the WTO away from a dead-end and the ISA is one example of that leadership.”

    - Rep. Sander Levin, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means

    Full Statement Here

    “I strongly support an ambitious ISA. The ISA is an unparalleled opportunity to reduce global barriers to U.S. services exports, and I want to see strong commitments across the full spectrum of services. Around 80 percent of U.S. jobs are in our services sector, and these jobs pay well, so every time we increase the global market for this large sector’s exports, we create many new, well-paying U.S. jobs. In addition, an efficient global market for services is critical to allowing U.S. agricultural and manufacturing exporters to design, develop, market, finance, insure, transport, install, repair, and provide administrative and computing support for U.S. exports.”

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

    Full Statement Here

    “Services are vital to the future of the U.S. economy and prosperity of American workers. We are pleased that the United States is ready to fight for new trade rules to enable the services sector to achieve its potential as the engine of our economy.”

    - Peter Allgeier, Coalition of Service Industries President

    Full Statement Here

    “We applaud today’s announcement by USTR and support efforts to negotiate an ambitious agreement that opens up growing international markets for the range of services provided by U.S. companies. Given the importance of services to the U.S. economy as well as to U.S. manufacturing, the successful implementation of an International Services Agreement would help to maximize U.S. economic growth and job creation.”

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

    Full Statement Here

    “The International Services Agreement will be an economic boost for the U.S. and the world economy. It will create new markets for U.S. exporters and generate a host of business and job opportunities from coast to coast. U.S. services companies have seen trade and regulatory barriers multiply in ways that could not be foreseen two decades ago when the General Agreement on Trade in Services was negotiated. This is a chance to tackle emerging trade barriers in areas such as the digital economy while strengthening the global rules-based trading system.”

    - Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senior Vice President for International Affairs

    Full Statement Here

    “We welcome today’s announcement and applaud the Administration’s pursuit of an agreement that will help to maximize the competitiveness of U.S. services companies and support U.S. job creation. With the services sector accounting for four out of five American jobs and nearly 70 percent of U.S. GDP, expanding services trade through an ISA is central to U.S. economic growth. We commend the Administration for making this important agreement a priority early in the New Year.”

    - Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council

    Full Statement Here

    "The American services sector generates more than 75 percent of national economic output and provides 80 percent of the jobs in the country, making it imperative that the U.S. government support commercially meaningful trade agreements that allow U.S. companies to compete on a level playing field in the world marketplace. At this critical point in the global economic recovery, it is essential that the U.S. continue to be a leader in trade negotiations."

    - Dan Brutto, UPS International President

    Full Statement Here

    “International services markets remain heavily restricted and U.S. service suppliers face a wide range of barriers to doing business in overseas markets. A new agreement to liberalize services trade would be a much-needed boost to our economic recovery, particularly at a time when growth opportunities are scarce."

    - Michael Ducker, Chief Operating Officer and President of FedEx Express International

    Full Statement Here

    "IBM enthusiastically welcomes the U.S. decision to join global services trade talks in Geneva. Global markets present tremendous growth opportunities for IBM, and services are the largest component of IBM’s business. The United States stands to gain significantly from a new trade agreement that eliminates services trade barriers around the world. IBM looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration on this opportunity to continue driving innovation and economic competitiveness."

    - Christopher Padilla, Vice President, Governmental Programs, IBM

    Full Statement Here

  • 01/16/2013 5:28 PM

    By Roya Stephens, Office of Public and Media Affairs

    New Negotiations in Geneva Seek to Boost Services Exports, Support Jobs Here at Home

    During the next 90 days, USTR will consult widely with Congress and stakeholders to gather input that will inform U.S. negotiating efforts with 20 trading partners in Geneva toward a new agreement on international trade in services. That was the news Ambassador Kirk shared in a letter to Congressional leaders yesterday. This decision by the President to enter negotiations is part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing effort to support more jobs here at home by expanding American trade around the world – and in the case of international services trade, this effort plays to a major U.S. strength.

    U.S. companies are already global leaders in industries such as telecommunications, financial services, environmental services, retail, and express delivery – and three out of four American jobs are already in the services sector. Expanding America’s services industry through trade is a smart effort, because every additional $1 billion in U.S. services exports supports an estimated 4,200 more U.S. jobs.

    We’ve got a great base to build from. The United States is a global leader in exporting high-quality services to markets around the world. In 2011, one third of all U.S. exports, or $606 billion, came from services trade, reflecting a 110 percent increase in service exports since 2000.

    So why do we need a new agreement?

    One reason is that the United States has yet to tap the full trade potential that the dynamic and innovative U.S. service sector can achieve. The United States increasingly relies on its trading relationships with both developed and developing countries to support its growing trade in services. The negotiation in Geneva will involve a diverse group of like-minded partners, from Costa Rica to Turkey, all interested in growing services trade with the United States and with each other. Further opening services trade with this group, and with others who may join, can support broader U.S. services exports and even more American jobs.

    You can find out more about the potential benefits of this new effort by reading Ambassador Kirk’s letter to Congress, and more about U.S. services trade in general here on ustr.gov.

  • 01/10/2013 5:46 PM

    By Rebecca Rosen, Acting Director for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

    Representatives from academia, labor unions, business, and public interest groups joined USTR’s Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Barbara Weisel today for a briefing on the outcomes of the 15th round of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Weisel touched on a number of the negotiation’s developments, but she noted the special significance of the inclusion of Canada and Mexico in the TPP negotiations for the United States. Canada and Mexico represent the two largest export markets for U.S. products in the world, and incorporating these two countries into the TPP will enable U.S. businesses of all sizes to expand into their markets and support more jobs in the U.S.

    TPP Briefing Photo
    Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Barbara Weisel
    briefs TPP stakeholders in Washington, D.C.

    In addition to the inclusion of Mexico and Canada, Weisel also discussed U.S. TPP negotiating priorities, including transparency, labor rights, and environmental protection. The United States looks to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that boosts trade, while at the same time maintaining our high standards in those issue areas, Weisel said.

    The 16th round of TPP negotiations will be held in Singapore, from March 4-13th. USTR briefings with stakeholders occur regularly, including at every negotiating round and at USTR’s offices in Washington, D.C. following each round. If you are interested in participating please contact IAPE@ustr.eop.gov.

  • 01/09/2013 3:22 PM

    Various news outlets have reported that Gougou.com, one of China's most notorious pirate search engine sites, has shut down. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently listed Gougou.com in December’s Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, stating that Gougou.com “continues to actively provide users with deeplinks to infringing music files and torrent links from unauthorized sources.

    According to the report, Gougou.com and sites like it were selected for inclusion on the list “because their scale and popularity can cause economic harm to U.S. and other IPR rights holders.” The U.S. Government recently estimated that industries that depend on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection support as many as 40 million American jobs, and up to 60 percent of U.S. exports.

    As Ambassador Kirk noted when the report was first published, piracy and counterfeiting hurt the U.S. economy, harm our creative and innovative industries, and pose a threat to middle-class American jobs. As such, USTR hopes that the Notorious Markets Review will continue to yield the kind of concrete action from highlighted markets that led to the removal of several markets from the list in 2012.

    To read the full report, visit this link.

    For more information on intellectual property rights protection, or to report IPR infringement, visit http://www.stopfakes.gov.

  • 01/09/2013 11:57 AM

    Note: This is a cross post from the State Department website. For the original post, please go here.

    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones will lead the United States delegation and co-chair the sixth meeting of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Environmental Affairs Council and fourth meeting of the U.S.-Chile Environmental Cooperation Agreement Joint Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Santiago, Chile on January 9.  Assistant Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Jennifer Prescott will co-lead the U.S. delegation at the Council meeting.

    Ana Novik, Director of Multilateral Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Relations’ Directorate for International Economic Relations will co-chair the Council for Chile.  The Commission will also be co-chaired by Ambassador José Luis Balmaceda, Director of Environment and Natural Resources in Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Relations.

    These meetings reaffirm the strong commitment of the United States and Chile to work together to preserve and protect the environment by implementing the FTA’s Environment Chapter and the U.S. Chile Environmental Cooperation Agreement.  As part of these meetings, Commission and Council members will also host a public session with representatives from civil society to discuss Environment Chapter obligations and the results of environmental cooperation activities in Chile.

    Since the United States and Chile signed the Environmental Cooperation Agreement in 2003, the United States has dedicated more than $4 million to support trade-related projects in Chile under this agreement.  Joint efforts have brought more than six million hectares of land under improved natural resource management; reached approximately 30,000 people though informational guides to promote public participation; and, trained over 300 officials in natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental enforcement.

    The success of this bilateral cooperation demonstrates how increased trade and stronger environmental protection can complement each other and how the two nations are leveling the playing field by helping ensure that businesses in Chile are playing by similar environmental rules as businesses in the United States.

    For more information, visit http://www.state.gov/e/oes/env/trade/chile/index.htm.