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Government Shutdown Hampers U.S. Trade Negotiations

Oct 09, 2013

The government shutdown has put a damper on current U.S. trade negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).  The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) was already under budget constraints due to sequestration and the shutdown further limits its capacity to negotiate and enforce trade deals as three-quarters of the department’s employees have been furloughed. 

In addition, President Obama canceled his trip this week to Bali, Indonesia, where he was scheduled to host a meeting of the TPP leaders on the heels of the APEC summit.  The agreement is set to conclude at the end of the year, but more work is needed in several key areas, and the shutdown could hinder participation by USTR officials in future negotiating sessions. 

Comparable problems are also affecting TTIP. The second round of negotiations between the United States and the European Union scheduled to be held this week in Brussels was also canceled due to the shutdown. A new date has not been scheduled and is unlikely until the shutdown is over.

“We’ve had to pull back on our negotiations, we’ve had to stop some of our enforcement efforts, we’re not able to monitor a lot of our existing agreements,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg Television.

Further, U.S. government agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USTR are not able to operate or update their websites.  USDA is not publishing dairy data or reports including the "Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS)", which provides monthly data on imports and exports from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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