U.S. to enter transpacific trade pact talks
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Monday notified Congress that President Obama intends to enter into negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
In letters to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Kirk said such an agreement would help to expand American exports, saving and creating good jobs here at home. The first round of negotiations has already been announced by the current Trans-Pacific Partnership members for March 2010.
“USTR will now intensify consultations with Congress and with American stakeholders to develop objectives for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiations, in order to enter already scheduled talks in March with a robust U.S. view that seeks the highest economic benefit for America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service providers, and that reflects our shared values on labor, the environment, and other key issues,” Kirk said in a statement.
This week, USTR will publish in the Federal Register a notice requesting public input on the direction, focus, and content of Tran-Pacific Partnership negotiations. USTR has also created a new Web page to centralize Trans-Pacific Partnership information for the public.
The National Foreign Trade Council said it welcomed the move. The council sent a letter in early November urging Obama to push for TPP talks during his visit to Asia last month.
'This is an important step toward strengthening economic and commercial ties between the United States and the Asia-Pacific region,' said Chuck Dittrich, NFTC vice president for regional trade issues. 'The TPP is an ambitious undertaking and has the potential to significantly expand trade relations with one of the most dynamic regions in the world. The agreement will help to better integrate the Asia-Pacific market into the global economy, will promote domestic job growth and will forge more robust economic relations between the United States and its allies in Asia.'