President Obama Announces Launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Negotiations
February 13, 2013
In his State of the Union address on February 12, 2013, President Obama announced his plan to notify Congress of his intent to enter into negotiations on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. The President’s announcement shortly follows the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth’s recommendation that the United States and European Union each initiate the formal domestic procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment agreement. According to the Working Group, which has been analyzing potential options for expanding transatlantic trade and investment since November 2011, the United States and European Union jointly account for almost half of world GDP and 30 percent of world trade. The U.S. and EU trade $2.7 billion worth of goods and services bilaterally each day.
In a joint statement released on February 13, 2013, President Obama, along with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, announced that the United States and the European Union will each initiate the procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will aim to further open markets, strengthen rules-based investment, tackle costly “behind the border” non-tariff barriers, and cut the costs of differences in regulations and standards. The negotiations will also strive to enhance U.S.-EU cooperation on the development of rules and principles related to issues of global concern.
Prior to the President’s State of the Union speech, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) laid out their priorities for a U.S.-EU Free Trade Agreement in a letter to Ambassador Kirk. The Senators noted the following five priorities for negotiations: access for U.S. agricultural exports like beef and pork, strong intellectual property protection, access for U.S. services exports, regulatory compliance issues, and a mechanism for dispute settlement. Senator Baucus and Senator Hatch also voiced their desire for prompt consideration and renewal of Trade Promotion Authority. In a statement released by the House Ways and Means Committee after the President’s announcement, Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) welcomed the trade talks and indicated their interest in consulting with the Administration regarding the negotiations.
A USTR Fact Sheet regarding the Negotiations is available here.
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