Speeches & Official Announcements

US Trade Representative Announces New Obama Administration Accomplishments in Reducing Barriers to American Exports

“As the 2015 National Trade Estimate Report reveals, the Obama Administration is working around the clock to fight unwarranted barriers to our exports around the world, and we’ve racked-up significant accomplishments in protecting the benefits that trade delivers for the American people.” – Michael Froman

The National Trade Estimate Report, released by Michael Froman last week, presents a list of foreign obstacles affecting US exports as well as the USTR’s efforts to reduce those obstacles in America’s largest export markets, including 58 countries, the European Union, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In the last year, changes both positive and negative, in barriers in US export markets have occurred in China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, and Ukraine. (USTR)

To read the full report, click here.

Carter Discusses US Rebalance to Asia-Pacific

“In terms of our rebalance in the broadest sense, passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier. TPP would deepen our alliances and partnerships abroad and underscore our lasting commitment to the Asia-Pacific. And it would help us promote a global order that reflects both our interests and our values.” – Ash Carter

During a speech at Arizona State University, Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted that the US needed to re-emphasize the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, both economically and militarily. He stressed how important it was to pass TPA, so that President Obama could ensure “America gets the best deal in a historic new trade agreement”, and he also noted that since World War II, the US has consistently played a military role in the region, allowing nations like Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and China to develop and thrive. (US Department of Defense)

Voice of America also had an interesting analysis of his speech.

Recent Analysis

It’s the Geopolitics, Stupid: Why TTIP Matters

Rem Korteweg notes that a transatlantic free-trade agreement offers major geopolitical benefits for the EU and the US. Nevertheless, since negotiations started in 2013, the momentum has largely been with TTIP’s opponents. While TTIP advocates focus on the economic benefits, Korteweg notes that geostrategic elements must also be disseminated: should TTIP fail and TPP succeed, America’s pivot to Asia would be reinforced and Europe would question its importance to the US. This, in turn, could create an opportunity for Russia to exploit and energize its anti-Western rhetoric. (Center for European Reform)

How the Obama Trade Agenda Can Advance Progressive Goals

Ed Gerwin notes that if trade-skeptics used the debate on TPA to take another look at President Obama’s trade initiatives, they would see that there are many examples of how the Administration is combining smart trade policy and progressive ideals to advance vital goals while strengthening both the American and global economy. Not only would it allow the US to tap into global growth but it would also lead to fairer trade and support a progressive growth agenda. (The Hill)

Europe’s Currency Manipulation

Stefan Kawalec, CEO of Capital Strategy and former Polish Vice-Minister of Finance, notes that TTIP would be a boon for the economies on both sides of the Atlantic. However, he argues that the EU’s large current-account surplus could derail the negotiations. Kawalec states that efforts by the US Congress to include provisions against currency manipulations in TPP negotiations underscore the importance of this issue for the United States. In turn, he warns that the Euro’s sharp depreciation, which is fueled by the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing policies, could become a serious stumbling block for TTIP. ( Project Syndicate)

Vilsack Calls on Agriculture Stakeholders to Lobby for Fast-Track Trade Authority

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is urging farmers, ranchers, and agribuisness owners to lobby Congress to pass TPA and support TPP. Exports are very important for agriculture, Vilsack noted, as thirty percent of all agricultural sales in the US are connected to exports. “There is serious opposition to trade promotion authority and trade agreements [and] that opposition is organized,” Vilsack noted. “We need a correspondingly well-organized and powerful counter message from small business.” (Agri-Pulse)

Criticism of Ron Wyden, Trans-Pacific Partnership misses the mark: Editorial

The Editorial Board of the Oregonian defends Sen. Ron Wyden against critics over his support for TPA and TPP. They explain that TPA is necessary to enable the executive to complete trade negotiations in the most effective fashion. It allows Congress to influence the agreement, but also facilitates negotiations in good faith between the United States and its trading partners. The board argues that TPP would strengthen labor and environmental regulations rather than weakening them. In addition, TPP would benefit Oregon’s export heavy economy. ( The Oregonian)

Upcoming Events

Why We Need a Strong IMF – A Conversation with Christine Lagarde – April 9 in Washington; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

Financing Growth in the Asia Pacific – April 10 in Washington; hosted by CSIS – More Information

Webinar: TTIP and the Wider Atlantic – April 15 in Washington, hosted by Atlantic Future – More Information

Shifting Gears: Merging Growth and Prosperity – April 16 in Washington, hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation and Financial Times – More Information; RSVP here.

Getting Europe Back to Growth with European Commission VP for the Euro Dombrovskis – April 16 in Washington, hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

Conference: The Geopolitics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – April 16 in Washington, hosted by the American Security Project – More Information

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Setting New Rules for Trade in the 21st Century – April 16 in Washington, hosted by Bloomberg, the National Foreign Trade Council, and the US Council for International Business – More Information

The Atlantic Summit on the Economy – April 23 in Washington; hosted by The Atlantic Live – More Information

TTIP Stakeholder Forum – April 23 in New York; hosted by the Office of the USTR – More Information

Launch of the 2015 Transatlantic Economy Study with Congressman Erik Paulsen – April 30 in Washington; hosted by The Trans-Atlantic Business Council – More Information

2015 Global Supply Chain Summit – May 12 in Washington; hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce – More Information

Global Commerce: New Trends and Opportunities in the Americas and Beyond – May 14 in Houston, TX; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

The Next Round of TTIP Negotiations will take place in New York City the week of April 20.