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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Trade Advisory Committees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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