House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) today announced that the Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing on President Barack Obama’s trade policy agenda with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and with a second panel of witnesses on the future of U.S. trade negotiations. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.
In view of the limited time available to hear the witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. A list of invited witnesses will follow.
International trade is an engine for growth and job creation in the United States. While the United States is the largest economy and trading nation in the world, 95 percent of the world’s consumers are abroad. The future success of American workers, businesses, and farmers is therefore integrally tied with continuing America’s strong commitment to finding new markets and expanding existing ones for U.S. goods and services.
The bipartisan passage of the implementing bills for the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea free trade agreements in October 2011 marked an important step forward for U.S. trade policy. This hearing will provide an opportunity to explore with Ambassador Kirk how the President’s trade agenda will sustain this momentum with respect to current trade issues, such as: progress in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations; Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization; China’s trade restrictive practices and non-tariff barriers that prevent U.S. companies from competing on a level playing field; the President’s trade agency reorganization proposal and National Export Initiative (NEI); and various bilateral and multilateral trade disputes and concerns. In addition, Ambassador Kirk’s testimony and the second panel of witnesses will provide an opportunity to focus on long-term thinking relating to future trade negotiations, including “post-Doha” WTO issues such as an international services agreement, Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion, and a trade facilitation agreement in the age of global supply chains; Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with China and India and new BITs and investment opportunities; and the trade and investment relationship with the European Union, India, and Latin America.
In announcing this hearing, Chairman Camp said, “Opening new markets for U.S. businesses, workers, and farmers and strong enforcement of U.S. rights are essential to driving economic growth and job creation here in the United States. The three free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea that Congress passed last year in a bipartisan manner sent a strong message that the United States has returned to the trade negotiating table. We are now at an important juncture to move forward aggressively on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and other initiatives to make sure that last year’s momentum is not lost. It’s also a critical time for us to look ahead for future trade and investment opportunities with important trading partners like the European Union, India, and Latin America to maximize American competitiveness and ensure that we do not fall behind.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The first panel of the hearing will provide an opportunity to explore with Ambassador Kirk current trade issues such as: (1) ensuring prompt implementation of the three free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea; (2) seeking to conclude a good Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement this year; (3) considering Russia’s WTO accession; (4) improving our important trade relationship with China and addressing China’s trade barriers; (5) addressing the Obama Administration’s trade agency reorganization proposal and National Export Initiative (NEI); and (6) ensuring appropriate trade enforcement efforts. The first and second panels will also focus on areas of potential future trade negotiations such as: (1) advancing WTO negotiations, including “post-Doha” issues at the WTO such as an international services agreement, Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion and a trade facilitation agreement; (2) completing Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with China and India and exploring new BITs and investment opportunities; (3) deepening and expanding the trade and investment relationship with the European Union; and (4) establishing long-term, closer ties with important trading partners such as Latin America and India.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Wednesday, March 15, 2012. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.