07/31/2013 5:47 PM
Good news this week for U.S. agricultural producers: the Obama Administration resolved three market access issues that had been blocking exports to two important markets for America’s farmers and ranchers – Japan and Australia.
On Tuesday, the Government of Japan announced the resumption of purchases for U.S. Western White and Soft White wheat, following a suspension of imports with the April finding of an unauthorized variety of genetically engineered wheat in an Oregon field. Japan intends to purchase more than 178,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat, including 90,000 metric tons of Western wheat.
Australia has approved new measures that allow U.S. exports of California table grapes into Western Australia.
And Australia has also approved new measures that allow exports to that country of U.S. peaches and nectarines from California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture had been working to break down barriers to both markets for U.S. wheat and fruit. Under the rules-based global trading system, governments have a responsibility to find ways to facilitate trade of food and agricultural products, provided the products are safe for human consumption and the health of plants. These steps by the governments of Japan and Australia to remove restrictions on U.S. agricultural products were based on scientific decisions that these products can safely be traded – and now American farmers can look forward to more job-supporting exports.
07/31/2013 1:22 PMCheck out the Business Journal's story on Ambassador Froman's message to businesses on trade.
07/30/2013 4:41 PM
Ambassador Michael Froman participated in an armchair discussion with U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue at the annual Next Steps for the American Trade Agenda conference, hosted by the Chamber. For a video of the discussion, please click here.
USTR Michael Froman and Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue discuss the American Trade Agenda
Ambassador Froman discussed the state of play on a range of U.S. trade interests, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Trade Promotion Authority, bilateral ties with China, and the World Trade Organization. He also addressed challenges posed by localization barriers to trade, state-owned enterprises, and USTR resource constraints, and gave an overview of recent trips to Africa and the New Balance factory in Maine. Ambassador Froman specifically addressed how the U.S. trade agenda is helping to support jobs in America, grow the middle class, and strengthen the U.S. economy.
07/30/2013 1:54 PM
By Nadya Khapochkina
Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
On Monday, Mara Burr, Deputy Assistant U. S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asian Affairs, spoke at a Peace Through Business conference in Dallas, Texas. The event, titled International Women’s Economic Summit, highlighted the necessity of empowering women to further the economic development of their countries.
Burr explained the role of the Office of the U. S. Trade Representative (USTR) in developing, coordinating and implementing trade and investment policy of the United States, and its leadership in trade preference programs. She focused on the importance of empowering women and ensuring that they have access to relevant information, decision-makers and most crucially, the opportunities to chart their own path to success. She also discussed the United States-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and focused her remarks on the recently signed United States – Afghanistan Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Joint Efforts to Enable the Economic Empowerment of Women and Promote Women’s Entrepreneurship. This MOU demonstrates the joint commitment of the United States and Afghanistan to ensure strong interagency and inter-ministerial support and coordination of programs aimed at the economic empowerment of women in Afghanistan. In addition, both governments agree to provide women in Afghanistan access to information about laws, regulations, policies, and other official requirements for starting, running, and growing businesses, including information on international trade rules, requirements, and preference programs. At the annual TIFA Council meetings, the two governments will review progress made under the MOU and identify areas for more focused work.
Deputy Assistant USTR Mara Burr at Peace Through Business conference in Dallas, Texas
Mara Burr elaborated further, saying that, “developing countries like Afghanistan must ensure that the entire population is contributing to its economic growth – not one-third or one-half of the population…Women are important drivers of both creativity and innovation – we have a natural talent to ‘think outside the box’. Creativity and innovation are critical drivers in any economy. So it is only common sense that countries should commit to promoting women and women entrepreneurs to ensure that their economies benefit from the best and brightest minds, the hardworking high achievers who can contribute to the development of their country.”
The Peace Through Business program was created by nonprofit organization Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) in 2006. The purpose of this annual program is to provide women business owners intensive education and training in their fields over a span of two months. The program culminates in a trip to the United States to engage with American women mentors, finishing up with a summit, held in Dallas this year. Sixty women from Afghanistan and Rwanda participated this year, with the top twenty students attending the summit.
Incorporating the gender dimension is a significant driver of developing effective trade policies, and awareness of economic issues faced by women from our trading partner nations increases the scope and relevance of trade negotiations and ensures more sustainable economic growth. The United States Trade Representative works to advance opportunities for women through several other initiatives as well. USTR was active in formulating the APEC San Francisco Declaration to further women’s economic participation, by expanding access to capital and markets, skills and capacity building, and inspiring leadership. Similar objectives have been proposed in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and discussed in many of our TIFAs with other developing countries. USTR also works closely with the U.S. Department of State on the African Women Entrepreneurs Program, through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Ambassador Froman Meets with EU Officials to Build Upon Last Week’s Inaugural Round of TTIP Negotiations07/17/2013 5:50 PM
Ambassador Froman met with key EU officials this week to build on progress made during the inaugural round of negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.
On Tuesday, Ambassador Froman and European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier discussed the potential for TTIP to promote jobs, economic growth, and international competitiveness in both economies, and focused in particular on issues related to financial services, intellectual property, and government procurement. Ambassador Froman also met on Tuesday with European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger to talk about the important role energy and raw materials trade plays in the transatlantic economic relationship. Today, Ambassador Froman sat down with European Commission Directorate-General for Trade Jean-Luc Demarty to review the completed negotiating round and the interim steps both sides should take to set the stage for a successful second round this fall. The officials also discussed increased cooperation on a proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and various WTO topics, and noted that the U.S. and EU have shared interests in a “Bali package” for the WTO Ministerial Conference in Indonesia in early December. They agreed that WTO Members need to accelerate the pace of negotiations in order to achieve this.
The U.S. economic relationship with the EU is the largest and most complex in the world, generating goods and services trade flows of about $2.7 billion per day and supporting more than 13 million jobs.
07/17/2013 2:02 PM
By James Hoagland, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
Today U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman delivered the keynote speech at a luncheon hosted by the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN). Ambassador Froman discussed the important role the transatlantic economic relationship plays in promoting jobs and growth worldwide, and outlined the potential benefits that would flow from a completed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TPN’s annual Transatlantic Week aims to foster dialogue between legislators, administrators, academics and business leaders from the United States and the EU on a wide range of issues.
Ambassador Froman focused his remarks on the first round of TTIP negotiations that were recently held in Washington, D.C. He described how extensive efforts by government officials, stakeholders, and interested citizens over the past year and-a-half, on both sides of the Atlantic, had made the launch of TTIP negotiations possible.
Ambassador Froman reminded the audience that tough issues will not be avoided in TTIP, and emphasized the importance of addressing differences in U.S. and EU regulatory and standards systems in particular. Ambassador Froman also encouraged stakeholders to remain engaged so as to ensure that multiple perspectives and a balance of views continue to inform U.S. negotiating positions.
Today, trade between U.S. and the EU accounts for nearly 13 million jobs and supports nearly $3 billion in daily goods and services trade. Through TTIP, the Administration hopes to expand this robust relationship.
To find out more about the proposed TTIP agreement, visit this page. If you’re interested in attending TTIP events in the future, visit our stakeholder page on our website here, or email us at IAPE@ustr.eop.gov.
07/12/2013 11:21 AM
By Ari Giovenco, Director of Congressional Affairs
U.S. and European negotiators briefed Congressional staff from both the House and Senate regarding the status of the inaugural round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which began in Washington, D.C. this week.
Chief U.S. Negotiator Dan Mullaney, along with his European Commission counterpart Ignacio Garcia-Bercero made brief remarks, and then fielded substantive questions and engaged in a lively conversation on topics such as regulatory barriers, agriculture, State-owned enterprises (SOEs), market access, and transparency.
Chief Negotiators Dan Mullaney (US) and Ignacio Garcia-Bercero (EU) brief congressional staff on the status of the inaugural round of TTIP negotiations
Both negotiators highlighted the shared goals of creating jobs, promoting growth, and enhancing economic competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic.
A wide range of bipartisan Congressional staff was present at the briefing including staff from Members who represent constituents with diverse interests in agriculture, manufacturing, technology and services.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is committed to robust Congressional consultations and transparency in its trade negotiations and welcomes the views of all Members of Congress and their staffs.
USTR Holds Series of Stakeholder Engagement Events at First Round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Negotiations07/11/2013 2:47 PM
By Clare Quinn, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
During this week’s first Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiating round, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) hosted a series of stakeholder engagement events to ensure that multiple perspectives and a balance of views inform U.S. negotiating positions. Approximately 350 global stakeholders gathered on Wednesday for a series of outreach events, including the direct stakeholder engagement event, stakeholder presentations, and a briefing by the Chief Negotiators from the United States and European Union. Negotiators took a break from their discussions to meet with and listen to presentations by approximately 50 stakeholders representing industry, small businesses, academia, labor unions, environmental groups, and consumer advocacy organizations. Stakeholders and negotiators traded insights and shared opinions in the open and productive forum. Stakeholders were also able to ask questions and share briefing materials with negotiators and other participants. Ambassador Froman stopped by the session to listen and share perspectives with stakeholders. To view the schedule of presentations, please click here.
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman greets stakeholders at yesterday's events.
Later that afternoon, Chief U.S. Negotiator Dan Mullaney and Chief EU Negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero briefed the assembled stakeholders and took questions on the progress made during the first days of the negotiation. In his remarks, Mullaney emphasized the economic benefits of the agreement; in addition to promoting international competitiveness and growth, the TTIP is expected to add to the more than 13 million American and European Union jobs already supported by transatlantic trade and investment. For a full list of the organizations that participated in these events, please click here.
Over the last several months, U.S. trade negotiators have consulted closely with Members of Congress, cleared advisors, trade stakeholders, and members of the public about U.S. negotiating positions for the TTIP agreement, and USTR will continue to engage with and seek feedback from those constituencies throughout the negotiation. Discussing a broad set of views is critical to helping negotiators produce a comprehensive and ambitious agreement that benefits both parties, reflects our values, and leads to even more economic growth.
For further information on the TTIP negotiations, please visit www.ustr.gov/ttip.
07/08/2013 5:21 PM
By Zack Cronin, Office of Public and Media Affairs
The first round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) began today with an opening plenary session, and will continue this week as numerous negotiating groups meet to discuss the range of issues that the United States and the EU intend to include in a comprehensive trade and investment agreement.
Chief Negotiators Dan Mullaney and Ignacio Garcia-Bercero introduce their teams at today's opening plenary session.
These negotiations provide an opportunity to build on one of the world’s greatest overall alliances and both increase the already strong trade and investment relationship and strengthen the multilateral, rules-based trading system. Today’s attendees included U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro, and Chief Negotiators Dan Mullaney (U.S.) and Ignacio Garcia-Bercero (EU), along with their negotiating teams.
Ambassador Froman gave introductory remarks at the opening plenary, stating that he and Commissioner De Gucht intend to stay “very involved” in the negotiations, while still giving their respective teams “the space they need to move forward and find solutions.” Ambassador Froman closed his remarks by encouraging negotiators to “be creative, be flexible, and think outside of the box as necessary to make progress” and achieve an “outcome that meets the economic priorities of both the United States and the European Union.” The first round of TTIP negotiations will continue throughout the week.
USTR’s Environment and Natural Resources Office discusses progress in Trans-Pacific Partnership’s environment chapter with NGO stakeholders07/03/2013 9:47 AMThis week, USTR’s Environment and Natural Resources office met with environmental organizations in Washington, DC to discuss progress on the negotiations of the environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). USTR reported on progress made during the negotiating round in Lima, Peru in May. Participants, including Sierra Club, Environmental Investigation Agency, World Wildlife Fund, Oceana, World Society for the Protection of Animals, and Fauna and Flora International, shared views and expressed their desire for progress during the upcoming round of negotiations in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia later this month. This environment outreach meeting was part of USTR’s regular effort to meet with stakeholders, including civil society, NGOs, labor unions, businesses, academics and concerned citizens to solicit and share information about TPP. USTR hopes to make further progress towards achieving an ambitious outcome on environment during the upcoming round in Malaysia, and looks forward to continued engagement with stakeholders as the TPP negotiations continue. For more information, visit www.ustr.gov/tpp.
07/01/2013 5:19 PM