USTR.gov June 1st, 2011

Ambassador Kirk Statement Regarding the Planned Informal Markup in The Senate Finance Committee

June 30, 2011

 

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued a brief statement today regarding the planned informal markup in the Senate Finance Committee of trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, along with a bipartisan agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance. From Ambassador Kirk:

 

“The three pending trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia, will support tens of thousands of American jobs – each one a lifeline to a working family in this country. We applaud Finance Chairman Max Baucus for his leadership in seeking to move these agreements today along with a responsible, cost-effective Trade Adjustment Assistance package. Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee have repeatedly called on the Obama Administration to send these agreements to Congress for a vote. Today the agreements were there – and Senate Finance Committee Republicans were not. Americans need their leaders at work – in their seats, eyes on the ball, pushing every day to enact policies that create jobs here at home, advance this country’s economic recovery, and help our working families.”

INFO: Links on Pending Trade Agreements, TAA, Preference Programs
June 29, 2011

In advance of a “mock markup” of three bills on pending trade agreements in the Senate Finance Committee, please find here a handy index of links to key information on the U.S.-Korea, U.S.-Colombia, and U.S.-Panama trade pacts, as well as on Trade Adjustment Assistance and expired trade preference programs.

United States Encourages China to Open More Markets for U.S. Goods and Services during JCCT Mid-Year Review
June 28, 2011

BEIJING – Senior U.S. trade officials today encouraged China to open more markets for American goods and services and make progress on other priority trade issues at the annual Mid-Year Review Meeting for the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). The two governments also took stock of their trade and investment relationship, and identified key policy concerns in preparation for the 2011 JCCT plenary meeting which will be hosted by China later this year.

 

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez and Assistant United States Trade Representative Claire Reade co-chaired the meeting with Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Chao.

 

“We are focused on creating a balanced and healthy U.S.-China trade relationship and we believe China should take steps to open more markets to American goods and services,” Sánchez said. “We face challenges that need to be addressed in our commercial relationship, but recognize the important synergies that exist between our National Export Initiative and China’s 12th Five Year Plan to develop and modernize its economy.”

 

Reade added, “The JCCT midyear review is a key opportunity to focus on full implementation of last year’s JCCT commitments and to energize the work towards a productive 2011 JCCT plenary.”

 

While in Beijing, Sánchez and Reade also participated in a roundtable with American companies focused on opportunities for U.S. technologies in the development of China’s smart grid.

 

In 2010, China was the United States’ third-largest export market and remains a critical destination for U.S. manufactured goods and services.

 

The JCCT, established in 1983, is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade matters and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Welcomes Next Steps on Pending Trade Pacts, Trade Adjustment Assistance

June 28, 2011

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today welcomed the scheduling by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) of informal or “mock” markups for three separate implementing bills for pending trade agreements between the United States and South Korea, between the United States and Colombia, and between the United States and Panama. Kirk also welcomed the inclusion of a robust renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) in the implementing bill for the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, and measures renewing expired trade preference programs in the implementing bill for the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement.

“This is what we’ve been working toward. President Obama has made sure that these deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama are fairer for American workers and businesses, hold our partners accountable to keep their promises, and also reflect core American values on key issues like worker rights and protections. These agreements will help to boost U.S. exports and support tens of thousands of American jobs, and we are committed to their passage,” said Ambassador Kirk. “Advancing Trade Adjustment Assistance with these pending pacts is the right thing to do – because a balanced trade agenda recognizes the tough realities of trade for some Americans, even as we seize trade’s opportunities to create jobs here at home. America can and must do both and we look forward to seeing these agreements taken up this week.”

 

In 2010 and 2011, the Obama Administration worked with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama to successfully address outstanding issues related to each of the three agreements. In particular, the Administration secured: greater U.S. access to the South Korean auto market; enhanced tax transparency and labor rights in Panama; and significantly increased labor rights and protections in Colombia. The Administration has been clear that ratified agreements will only enter into force if trading partners are meeting their commitments; for instance, Colombia must successfully implement key elements of the agreed Action Plan Related to Labor Rights before the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement will enter into force. Colombia has already met the milestones of the Action Plan that were slated for completion by June 15, 2011.

 

TAA provides training and support for American workers who are negatively affected by trade and is traditionally in place as trade agreements pass. It is designed to help workers, firms, farmers and fishermen transition to alternative employment. The Administration has said that movement forward on the three pending FTAs must be accompanied by a robust renewal of TAA consistent with the goals of the 2009 law that improved the scope and effectiveness of the program – for instance, covering Americans employed in the services sector in addition to U.S. manufacturing workers.

The Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preferences Act expired in December 2010 and February 2011, respectively. These programs are designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for products from designated beneficiary countries and territories; they also support American jobs and improve American competitiveness since many American businesses use imports under these programs as inputs to manufacture goods in the United States.

The “mock markup” is an informal step traditionally taken by Congressional committees with jurisdiction over trade policy before formally considering legislation to implement a pending trade agreement. Committee members convene a public committee meeting to review the draft implementing bill for the agreement and to consider amendments. The protection afforded to a trade agreement under Trade Promotion Authority – which applies in the case of the Korea, Panama, and Colombia agreements – means that Congress may not amend the formal implementing bill the President submits, but proposed amendments approved at informal markups are considered by the Administration before the President submits the final implementing bill for each pact. Once legislation is formally submitted, each chamber of Congress has a prescribed period of time in which to hold an up-or-down vote on the trade agreement in question.

Steady Progress at the Seventh Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Round
June 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and its TPP partners – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – concluded the seventh round of negotiations today in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, making further step-by-step progress toward their goal of reaching the outlines of an ambitious, 21st century agreement by the APEC Leaders’ meeting in November.

 

As at the previous round in Singapore, the TPP countries extended the length of the round in Vietnam to ensure the teams had sufficient time to make meaningful progress in all areas of the negotiation. The additional time was helpful in producing the good progress that was achieved in further developing the detailed legal texts of the agreement, which encompass all areas of their commercial relationships. During the week, the countries reviewed new proposals that the United States and other TPP countries tabled this round; including on intellectual property, transparency, telecommunications, customs, environment; and advanced their efforts to consolidate the various proposals that the countries put forward in previous rounds. They also sought to further clarify their understanding of each other’s positions and continued the rigorous process of finding mutually-acceptable ways to address the specific sensitivities of each country.

 

Among the issues on which the teams had particularly productive discussions were the new cross-cutting issues that will feature for the first time in the TPP. After consulting internally on the U.S. text tabled at the sixth round, they furthered their efforts to find common ground on the regulatory coherence text intended to make the regulatory systems of their countries operate in a more consistent and seamless manner and avoid the types of regulatory barriers that are increasingly among the key obstacles to trade. The teams also had constructive discussions on approaches to development in the TPP and the importance of ensuring that the agreement serves to close the development gap among TPP members.  Read more

USTR.gov HEADLINES 

 

Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Pamela Bailey: Selling American Grown Food Globally Supports Jobs

June 30, 2011

 

Pamela G. Bailey is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.  She is also a member of President Obama’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.  Pamela shares how American agriculture exports support American jobs, both on and the farm. 

 

The United States is home to many of the world’s favorite food and beverage brands. Our food and beverage industry is a critical component of the U.S. economy, employing 1.7 million Americans in more than 30,000 communities, representing 14 percent of all our nation’s manufacturing jobs.  Continued

 

Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Solis Update Labor Committee on Trade Initiatives

June 29, 2011

 

Yesterday, Ambassador Ron Kirk joined Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to co-host the Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy (LAC). The meeting, which was held at the U.S. Department of Labor’s DC headquarters, was attended by committee members from various organized labor organizations ranging from Machinist and Musicians to Pilots and Electrical Workers. Read more

 

Association Statements Regarding Movement on the Pending Trade Agreements, TAA

June 29, 2011

 

Organizations and associations from across the country are applauding the Senate Finance Committee’s announcement yesterday to hold a “mock markup” of pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Calling for swift passage of the trade pacts in order to support America’s economic recovery and job growth, many of these key stakeholders are also reiterating support for an agreement that includes Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and expired trade preference programs.  Here is a sampling of what they are saying.

 

“The truth about Trade Adjustment Assistance”

June 29, 2011

 

Today, an op-ed in The Hill from United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis explains the importance of Trade Adjustment Assistance to America’s working families – and dispels some common myths about the program. Click here to read online or, read below.

 

“The Truth about Trade Adjustment Assistance”
By Hilda L. Solis and Ron Kirk

 

In 2009, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress worked with President Obama to craft a bipartisan agreement that improved the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program to help American workers who lost their jobs to foreign competition or outsourcing. Full article

 

Weekly Trade Spotlight: Plus 1 for Haiti

June 28, 2011

 

Recently, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles and Apparel Gail Strickler traveled to Haiti to participate in the Haiti Buyer’s Forum, and to promote the United States’ “Plus 1 for Haiti” trade preference program. This week’s trade spotlight follows-up on the Plus 1 program.

 

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Gail Strickler visited Haiti earlier this month to speak at the Haiti Buyer’s Forum, hosted by Better Work, an International Labor Organization initiative. She encouraged further utilization of U.S. preference programs with Haiti, and addressed the upcoming “Sourcing in the Americas” Pavilion and Summit at MAGIC, the largest apparel trade event in the United States, where Haitian producers will be highlighted in a special USAID-supported Haiti Pavilion showcasing Haitian apparel manufacturing capabilities.  Read more

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About Alexander Gordin
An international merchant banking professional with over twenty years of business operating and advisory experience in the areas of export finance, international project finance, risk mitigation and cross-border business development. Clients include foreign governments, municipalities and state enterprises as well as Fortune 500 and small/medium enterprises. Strong entrepreneurial instincts, combined with leadership and strategic skills. Transactional and negotiations experience in over thirty five countries. Author of the highly acclaimed "Fluent in Foreign Business" book and creator of the "Fluent in OPIC", "Fluent in EXIM","Fluent In Foreign Franchising", "Fluent in FCPA",and "Fluent in USTDA" seminar/webinar series. Currently developing "Fluent In ......" seminars and publications. Co-author of the Fi3 Country Business Appeal Indices. Extensive international business development and project finance transaction experience in healthcare, aerospace, ICT, conventional and alternative energy infrastructure, distribution and hospitality industries. Experience managing international public and private corporations. Co-Founded three companies abroad. Strong Emerging and Frontier Market expertise. Published and featured in numerous publications including: The Wall Street Journal, Knowledge@Wharton, NBC.com, The Chicago Tribune, Industry Week, Industry Today, Business Finance, Wharton Magazine Blog, NY Enterprise Report, Success magazine, Kyiv Post and on a number of radio and television programs including: Voice of America, CNBC, CNNfn, and Bloomberg. Frequent speaker on strategy, cross-border finance and international business development. Executive MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. B.S. in Management of Information Systems from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Specialties Strategic Management Advisory, Export Finance, International Project Finance & Risk Management, Cross-border Negotiations, Structured Finance transactions, Senior Government and Corporate officials liason

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