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Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman, Subcommittee on Trade of the Committee on Ways and Means, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 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.
In September 2008, then-U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab notified Congress of President Bush’s intent to launch negotiations for the United States to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Subsequently, on Dec. 14, 2009, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified Congress of President Obama’s intent to enter the TPP negotiations. Along with the United States, there are eight other countries engaged in these negotiations – Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The goal of the negotiations is to achieve an ambitious and comprehensive 21st-century agreement that will help create and retain U.S. jobs, including by increasing trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promoting innovation and competitiveness, increasing the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in trade, supporting efficient production and supply chains, improving trade facilitation, promoting regulatory coherence and cooperation among the TPP members, furthering transparency, and appropriately addressing trade-related aspects of development, labor and environment issues of mutual concern.
Nine rounds of negotiations of the TPP agreement have been held so far, and additional rounds are scheduled for 2012. Consolidated legal text has been developed in almost all areas, with further work needed to finalize text on specific issues. The areas of negotiations include: tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods, services and investments; competition; customs rules; capacity building; e-commerce; environment; government procurement; intellectual property; labor; sanitary and phytosanitary standards; technical barriers to trade; and telecommunications. Based on the negotiating progress so far, the trade ministers for the TPP partner countries released the broad outlines of an agreement on November 12, 2011. In response to this outline, the leaders of the TPP partner countries released a statement noting that they are committed to completing the TPP negotiations as quickly as possible and instructed the negotiators to continue work through 2012. President Obama remarked, “There are still plenty of details to work out, but we are confident that we can do so. So we’ve directed our teams to finalize this agreement in the coming year. It is an ambitious goal, but we are optimistic that we can get it done.”
The TPP agreement will significantly increase the United States’ economic integration into the Asia-Pacific region. This region includes some of the world’s most robust economies and represents more than 40 percent of global trade. As a result, further opening up the huge and expanding Asia-Pacific market will increase U.S. exports of goods, services, and agricultural products. Combined, the current TPP partner countries are already the fourth largest goods and services export market for the United States.
The TPP is the most significant pathway toward broader Asia-Pacific regional economic integration, and the benefits of TPP to the United States would be even greater if other countries participate and provide meaningful access to their markets. According to USTR, the consensus among the nine TPP countries is that to join TPP, new members must be willing to demonstrate their willingness to match the high level of ambition established by the current TPP partner countries and not hinder the momentum for completing the negotiations. Moreover, any bilateral issues between a potential new partner country and each of the current members must be adequately resolved. Japan, Canada, and Mexico recently announced their interest in joining the TPP negotiations. USTR is beginning to consult with Congress and stakeholders to identify the bilateral issues pertaining to each of these countries and next steps.
In announcing this hearing, Chairman Brady said, “Opening up markets in the Asia-Pacific region for American goods and services must be a priority for robust U.S. long-term growth – to create good U.S. jobs, increase the competitiveness of U.S. exporters, and to preserve U.S. influence and leadership in the region. That is why it is vital that we complete an ambitious and comprehensive 21st century agreement as quickly as possible. We should also welcome new countries to the TPP if they are willing to meet TPP’s high ambitions and resolve outstanding bilateral issues. I look forward to hearing about the Administration’s plans for completing an agreement that will garner bipartisan support and hearing the private sector’s views on how this agreement could benefit American companies, workers, and farmers.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will focus on the status and future of the ongoing TPP agreement negotiations as well as the potential benefits of the agreement for U.S. companies, workers, and farmers. The hearing will also explore how the TPP agreement will be a “21st century agreement” by addressing barriers to trade beyond tariffs and increasing trade facilitation.
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, https://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, December 28, 2011. 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.
FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS :
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/