Washington, DC – As U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk participates in the 2009 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum’s (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Singapore on July 21 and 22, two House APEC Caucus leaders commented on the importance of the Asia-Pacific region and APEC to the United States and urged the Obama Administration to move ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks as soon as possible.
Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “These APEC meetings highlight the need for the Administration to move forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks as soon as possible. We are losing out while other countries in the region pursue an ever-growing number of free trade agreements without the United States. But the Obama Administration still has not indicated if it will start the TPP trade talks announced last year with several other APEC members. We must not miss this opportunity to build greater U.S. economic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), former Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, said, “While the U.S. sits on the sidelines and avoids vigorously pursuing highly beneficial trade agreements, American workers, small businesses, and farmers are losing out. Trade supports economic growth here at home and during a time of economic difficulty, it is even more important to ensure that the U.S. has access to these important markets. I hope the Obama Administration will open up the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks so that we can create much needed opportunities for American exports in the Asia-Pacific region and level the playing field for American workers.”
Background: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is comprised of 21 of the world’s leading economies, including the United States, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, and others. APEC members account for roughly 40 percent of the world’s population and nearly half of all global trade. Reflecting APEC’s importance to the United States, Reps. Brady, Crowley, Herger, and Larsen formed the House APEC Caucus last year. Also last year, the United States and several other APEC members launched the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks to build on an existing “P4” trade agreement between New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, and Chile, to create broader Asia-Pacific trade integration. So far, Australia, Peru, and Vietnam plan to join the talks. The TPP will strengthen U.S. trade and investment ties to the region. In March, Reps. Brady, Crowley, Herger, Larsen and 41 other House members sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him to start the TPP talks this spring.