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Trade News: TPA Legislation Stalls, Trade Negotiations Continue

Feb 19, 2014
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Trade News is a periodic update that provides a concise compilation of current trade happenings and their impact on the dairy industry. This week's column by Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, discusses progress on Trade Promotion Authority, negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).


Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has taken over as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from Max Baucus, who was confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. Wyden has not supported the Trade Promotion Authority bill introduced by Baucus, Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) in January. Many think Wyden will want to put his own stamp on the bill or rewrite it completely.

President Obama mentioned TPA briefly in his State of the Union, but many believe a real push from the administration is needed if it is to pass this year. TPA is losing support on both sides of the aisle and if stalled much longer, TPA may be pushed aside until after the November mid-term elections. Without TPA, it is unclear if the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could be passed in Congress.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman met earlier this week with Japanese Minister Akira Amari. However, movement on two key market access areas – agriculture and automotives – has failed to progress, according to a press release by USTR. Japan previously committed to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement but has yet to propose substantial offers on access for agricultural products it deems sensitive. Those products are rice, sugar, dairy, beef and pork, and wheat and barley.

TPP ministers are scheduled to meet February 22-25 in Singapore to work on outstanding issues. Many see President Obama’s visit to Asia in April as the next opportunity to conclude the deal or else risk losing momentum.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
European Union Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht and USTR Michael Froman met earlier this week in Washington, D.C. According to a press release from USTR, the two discussed the progress of the negotiations and outlined the challenges ahead.

The first exchange of tariff offers between the two parties occurred earlier this month. The U.S.-EU High-Level Working Group issued a final report last February, calling for the elimination of all duties, but details of the latest offer have not been made public.

The fourth round of talks will be held the week of March 10 in Brussels, Belgium, and a stakeholder event will be held on March 12. Stakeholders can register to present on various topics, including agriculture. More information is available here.

India
Last August, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees asked the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to investigate India’s trade, investment and industrial policies. The ITC held a hearing last week with several organizations providing testimony, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

The ITC sent a mandatory questionnaire out this month to approximately 8,000 U.S. firms. Individual responses will be protected as confidential business information, and responses will only be reported once aggregated with the others. 

Exports of U.S. dairy products to India are effectively prohibited under India’s current dairy sanitary import protocol. Participating in studies such as this one is vital in order to break down barriers to U.S. dairy exports in the future. IDFA encourages members who receive the survey to complete it and return it promptly.

For more information, contact Hughes, at bhughes@idfa.org.

 

 
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