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Testimony by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade

Deputy United States Trade Representative
Demetrios Marantis

Testimony Before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Washington, DC
December 13, 2011

*As Prepared For Delivery*

“Chairman Brady, Ranking Member McDermott, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

“Two years ago today, the Obama Administration notified Congress of our intention to enter into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Since then, we and our TPP partners – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – have come far toward realizing an ambitious, cutting-edge trade pact that promises to transform the economies of the Asia-Pacific. The TPP is an historic endeavor that embodies the Obama Administration’s vision for the American economy, the future of trade, and the United States’ central role in the Asia-Pacific. The TPP holds the prospect of unlocking significant new opportunities for increasing exports that support higher-paying jobs here at home. That is because the Asia-Pacific includes some of the world’s most dynamic economies, representing more than forty percent of global trade. This region is a key destination for U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, and services – last year accounting for over sixty percent of total U.S. goods exports and nearly three-quarters of our total agricultural exports.

“At the APEC meetings last month in Honolulu, the Leaders of the nine TPP countries announced the broad outlines of an agreement. With that announcement, other countries publicly expressed interest in participating in this high-standard agreement, notably Canada, Mexico, and Japan. In a short time, the TPP has become the primary platform for regional economic integration, securing the United States’ role as a leader in the 21st century economy.

“Negotiation of the TPP is an enormous undertaking, not only for the combined size of the economies participating, but also for the scope and ambition of the agreement itself. TPP partners are aiming to address a range of issues not covered in past agreements, including opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses, green growth, and trade and investment distortions that can occur when governments provide special treatment to state-owned enterprises. The Obama Administration’s goal is to conclude an agreement that positions U.S. workers and businesses well to compete and win in the Asia-Pacific region. And we hope that advances made in the TPP agreement will serve as a model for future trade pacts.

“Just last week, our negotiators traveled to Malaysia to build on the substantial progress we have made to date and to press ahead toward conclusion of the agreement. The nine TPP partners already have developed consolidated legal text for virtually every chapter, covering nearly all key trade and trade-related issues. In some areas, text is almost complete; in others, further work is needed.

“While many issues have yet to be resolved, our negotiations have already benefitted tremendously from unprecedented Congressional-Executive collaboration. The Administration has closely consulted with Congress on each U.S. negotiating proposal, and your guidance and input have played an integral role as we have developed our negotiating positions. In particular, I want to thank Chairman Brady and Ranking Member McDermott for coming to Honolulu during the November APEC meetings. Your presence underscored to our TPP partners the seriousness and commitment of the United States – across the government. In the coming months, as we work to conclude the agreement, we will need your support and continuing advice even more.

“We know that our efforts to build the TPP today can help to drive the growth of our economy and support jobs for Americans far into the future. We look forward to working together closely with you to achieve this goal.”