The Obama Trade Agenda: Five Things for Progressives to Like›By Ed Gerwin // Friday, February 27, 2015
The Administration has already been aggressively pursuing the most ambitious set of trade agreements in decades—including potentially groundbreaking deals with 11 Asian-Pacific countries (the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP), and the European Union (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or T-TIP), as well as agreements in key sectors like services, information technology, and environmental products.
Now, to set the stage for eventual Congressional approval for these deals, the President has launched an Administration-wide effort to obtain Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress. Under TPA, Congress sets detailed priorities and extensive consultation requirements for U.S. trade negotiators, and agrees to follow special expedited procedures for agreements that meet these rules.MORE
Guest Blog: TPP and Access to Medicines›By Ruth Lopert // Friday, February 27, 2015
As yet another round of Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations concluded in New York recently a Washington Post editorial glibly dismissed persistent and growing community concerns on the agreement’s potential impact on the cost of access to medicines. The Post’s scorn went so far as to describe claims that US’ efforts to, as it put it, ‘protect the pharmaceutical industry’s intellectual-property rights and commercial interests’ could result in higher drug prices and lower access, as mere ‘hype’.
Let’s unpack this a bit. First of all the US is not seeking to protect pharma’s IP rights, but rather, to expand them substantially, well beyond standards accepted and agreed (including by the US) under the TRIPS agreement. But to date, no one has successfully argued the case as to why the pharmaceutical industry needs even greater protections than those conferred by TRIPS, and moreover, claims that expanding IP rights are either useful or necessary for future ‘innovation’ have never been substantiated. By contrast, there is plenty of evidence of the actual harms of expanded IP protections, and potential impacts are readily modeled. [See note at end of this blog for key references on the impacts of expanded IP protections.]MORE
WITA Membership Issue Poll 2015 Results›By Diego Anez // Thursday, February 19, 2015
WITA’s 2015 Membership Poll is the third in WITA’s polling series. The survey was conducted in December 2014 and January 2015, through an Internet-based survey limited to WITA members. Note that the poll respondents are self-selected, meaning that the results are not a scientific sample but an illustration of views held by especially active, interested and influential members of the Washington trade community.
Below offers a quick glance at the poll’s results. You may access the full results here.
Chairman Paul Ryan’s First Public Address on Trade›By Diego Anez // Thursday, February 5, 2015
WASHINGTON — Today, Chairman Paul Ryan delivered the following remarks at the Washington International Trade Association on his vision for expanded U.S. trade.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Provided By United States House Ways and Means Committee
“Hi, everybody. I want to thank Steve for the introduction. And I want to thank all of you for joining us here today. As you know, this is my first time at WITA [Washington International Trade Association]. And this is a very distinguished crowd. I mean, the last time there were this many people talking about trade policy was when Brett Favre went to the Jets.
“I think trade is absolutely vital—because our jobs depend on it. Twenty years ago, trade supported one out of every ten of our jobs. Now it’s one out of every five. This is our future. And there’s no turning back—because we can’t create more jobs if we don’t get more customers. And 96 percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States. So the way I see it, we’re going global for the same reason the pioneers went west: because that’s where the opportunity is.MORE
5 Minutes with Robert Moran on the TransAtlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP)›By Diego Anez // Monday, February 2, 2015
From Ken Levinson, Executive Director of WITA:
A regular feature of this blog is what we call “5 Minute Interviews”. For these features, we will speak with leaders in the global trade and public policy community to get their thoughts on key issues facing global policy makers. Our latest interview is with Robert Moran, a Partner in the Brunswick group, who leads its insights function, Brunswick Insight.
Robert Moran is a pollster and expert on public opinion and leads Brunswick Insight, the Brunswick Group’s global research function. He frequently writes and speaks on public opinion and public opinion strategy and has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera. He writes on public opinion at Huffington Post.
Five Minutes with Robert Moran Partner, Brunswick GroupMORE
Will Congress Give Obama Authority to Negotiate Trade Agreements?›By Bill Krist // Friday, January 23, 2015
President Obama called on Congress to give him authority to negotiate trade agreements in last night’s State of the Union address. This authority, commonly called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) or Fast Track Authority, was last granted to the President in 2002, but that authority expired in 2007. Under our Constitution, authority to regulate foreign commerce rests with Congress, but since the 1930s Congress has periodically delegated authority for trade negotiations to the President in legislation that sets out the objectives and specific conditions for consultations.
Right now the U.S. is engaged in two monumental trade negotiations. The farthest along, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involves eleven other nations, including Japan, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The objective of the negotiation is to almost completely eliminate trade barriers among the twelve countries and develop strong rules on investment, protection of intellectual property, practices of state-owned enterprises, and other issues. The other enormous trade negotiation, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), involves the European Union.MORE
Krugman Gets It Wrong: Trade Agreements Will Grow the Economic Pie›By John Murphy // Tuesday, January 20, 2015
In a recent blog, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticizes the U.S. Chamber’s advocacy in support of the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic trade agreements now under negotiation by the Obama administration.
Our position is simple: If American businesses large and small can fill their order books with sales to new customers, they will need to hire more workers, increase working hours, and expand their businesses to fill those orders. That is what these trade deals are all about — making it easier to reach the 95% of the world’s consumers living outside the United States.
And Krugman? How to grow the economic pie and how to divide it up are two of the great questions facing economists. Krugman would be the first to admit that over the years he has become much more concerned with the latter.MORE
Haiti: Five Years Later; Five Years from Now›By Steve Lamar // Friday, January 16, 2015
On January 12, 2010 – five years ago this week – a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti.
It killed as many as 300,000 people. Another 300,000 were injured and 1.5 million were initially displaced.
Congress responded by enacting the Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act of 2010, which built on the earlier Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Acts of 2006 and 2008. Through these programs, goods made in Haiti can access the U.S. market duty free.MORE
C-SPAN WITA VIDEO; The Thawing of U.S.-Cuban Relations: What does it really mean for trade?›By Diego Anez // Thursday, January 15, 2015
Rapprochement with Cuba? Opening a U.S. Embassy in Havana? Lifting the Embargo? Long thought a distant possibility, normal commercial relations with Cuba may be a tangible reality in the near future. U.S. businesses may soon have the possibility of entering and investing into an untapped market with an array of different opportunities. However, policy makers must weigh the benefits of increased economic engagement against concerns about human rights, democracy, as well as consider the desires of the Cuban people and the Cuban-American community.MORE
5 Minutes with Devry Boughner Vorwerk on U.S.-Cuba Trade Relations›By Diego Anez // Monday, January 12, 2015
From Ken Levinson, Executive Director of WITA:
A regular feature of this blog is what we call “5 Minute Interviews”. For these features, we will speak with leaders in the trade community to get their thoughts on key issues facing global policy makers. Our first of these interviews is with Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cargill, and the Chair of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.
WITA is hosting a policy event, The Thawing of U.S.-Cuban Relations: What does it really mean for trade? on Wednesday, January 14 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM EST. You can sign-up here.
Devry Boughner Vorwerk is Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cargill and President of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition on Cuba. In 2014, Devry was identified by the World Economic Forum as a 2014 Young Global Leader, and on Jan 8, of this year, she helped launch the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba. Prior to joining Cargill, Vorwerk worked at the U.S. International Trade Commission in the Office of Industries and as Economic Advisor to the Chairman. She also served as Senior Economist in Agricultural Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Ken Levinson is the Executive Director of WITAMORE
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