House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) urged the administration on Monday to continue pursuing a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement with the European Union. At the same time, they expressed concern about several key issues, including geographical indications.
The chairmen wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman regarding the 15th round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations between the United States and the EU, which began this week in New York.
“Congress continues to support enhanced economic and commercial ties between the United States and the EU through the completion of a strong and ambitious T-TIP,
and we urge you to make as much progress as possible by the end of this year to create momentum for further action on a comprehensive T-TIP next year,” Brady and Hatch said. “We remain concerned, however, by the unwillingness of the EU to negotiate on key issues of high priority for the United States, and we ask that you continue to emphasize to the EU that any eventual T-TIP must address such issues if Congress is to support the agreement.”
In the letter, the congressmen said they have not seen sufficient progress on sanitary and phytosanitary issues, and they are “troubled by the EU’s attempts to include geographical indicators (GIs) in the agreement and to export its GI system to other countries.”
They called out the “EU’s pattern of ‘hostage taking’ and other stall tactics” as a way to avoid negotiating a comprehensive agreement, adding that Congress will not accept an abbreviated or low-standard pact. “We support your efforts to continue to pressure the EU on these key issues of high priority for Congress and the American people,” they concluded.
For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at email@example.com.