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President Obama Emphasizes Multilateral Trade Talks in 2013 Trade Agenda
March 5, 2013


U.S. multilateral trade negotiations dominated the White House’s 2013 Trade Agenda, comprising three of the administration’s first four priorities.  The March 1st, 2013, publication laid out the administration’s goals of reaching agreement with Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries within the year, initiating talks between the United States and the European Union (EU) regarding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and launching multilateral negotiations at the WTO towards an International Services Agreement (ISA).  The agenda included the following trade priorities:
  • Complete Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations:   According to the publication, Asia-Pacific economies are on track to grow faster than the international average, and TPP is an opportunity to realize the region’s economic potential through increased trade and investment.  In the agenda, President Obama reiterates his November 2012 pledge to come to a successful agreement by the end of 2013.
  • Commence Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Talks:   President Obama names a partnership between the U.S. and EU a top priority for the coming year.  Such an alliance between the countries would include reciprocal market openings in goods, services, and investment, streamlining trade rules, and reducing non-tariff barriers.                        
  • Strengthen and Enhance the WTO:  The agenda emphasizes the importance of the WTO as the “primary forum for liberalizing multilateral trade,” and plans to advance marketing opening measures at the organization.  The U.S. will participate with 20 other trading partners in negotiations towards an International Services Agreement.
  • Advance the National Export Initiative (NEI):  Striving to meet the administration’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014, the White House intends to continue to develop the NEI.  Within the NEI, the Export Promotion Cabinet (EPC) will work to increase accessibility and delivery of federal export assistance to small businesses through initiatives including a national marketing campaign and an expanded Export University Program.  
  • Protect Intellectual Property Rights and Support Trade of IP-intensive Products:   The administration plans to require IP commitments in trade agreements and continue to utilize the “Special 301” to enforce IP rights.  
In his agenda, President Obama also states that his administration will to work with Congress on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).  Both House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee Orin Hatch (R-UT) have released statements criticizing the President for not making (TPA) a priority.        

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