«A VALUES-DRIVEN TRADE POLICY U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL FROMAN FEBRUARY 18, 2014 Thank you, Neera, for that introduction. Thank you for all of ...»
Our values also tell us that the future global economy should be more sustainable than it is today.
Here, too, trade has an important role to play and, through TPP and T-TIP, as well as the WTO, the United States has taken the lead in advancing this agenda.
We are working to set the world’s highest standards in the environment chapters of our trade agreements.
As we do with labor provisions, we have insisted that environmental commitments be on equal footing with commercial obligations.
Commitments to protect endangered species, for example, must be taken just as seriously as commitments to lower tariffs and protect intellectual property, including being subject to enforceable dispute settlement.
We are asking our trading partners to commit to effectively enforce environmental laws, including those laws implementing multilateral environmental agreements – and we are committed to making sure our partners follow through.
It encourages them to take a more sustainable approach to development and it levels the playing field for those companies, including American companies, who maintain high standards for their workers and the communities where they operate.
Just last year, we worked with Peru under our trade agreement to identify targeted actions to address challenges in its forestry sector, from technical assistance for environmental prosecutors to improving the chain of custody of timber exports.
TPP is a chance to reach a new, higher plane.
Through our negotiations, we are seeking to address conservation challenges that are particularly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region.
Our TPP partners include many “biodiversity hotspots” some of which have served as conduits for illegal trade and smuggling in threatened animal, timber, plant and marine species.
This makes TPP a unique opportunity to improve regional cooperation and enforcement of the rules of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), from the islands of Southeast Asia to the interior of Vietnam, from the forests of Chile and Peru to the plains of Australia.
Whether protecting big-leaf mahogany or tigers, sharks and chinchillas, stronger legal frameworks, more cooperation, and better enforcement will improve the chances that these species survive.
And when it comes to oceans, for decades the WTO has tried – unsuccessfully – to reach agreement to constrain subsidies that encourage overfishing and ruin our marine life.
TPP and T-TIP are not-to-be-missed opportunities for a breakthrough on fishing subsidies which would be important in its own right and as a step toward breaking international deadlock on this issue.
And in APEC and at the WTO, we are working to reduce barriers on the trade of green goods and services which will create jobs here at home while expanding the availability of new, clean technologies that will help make progress on climate change.
PROTECTING INNOVATION AND ENABLING COLLABORATIONJust as our interests and our values intersect on labor and environmental issues, our position as the world’s oldest democracy and most innovative economy, calls for us to cultivate global norms rooted in promoting commerce, scientific progress and the freedom of expression – norms reflected in our Constitution that encourage innovation and creation.
Intellectual property-intensive industries account for nearly 30 million American jobs and drive growth in manufacturing, services and agriculture.
The American view, as enshrined in the Constitution and reflected in over two hundred years of practice, is that inventors should be able to patent their inventions and creators should be able to copyright their works. That view is also informed by a sense of balance, of the importance of matching incentives for innovation with mechanisms to assure access and dissemination as well.
These principles are inherent in our laws and are thriving in our trade policy as we hold our partners accountable to their intellectual property rights commitments, push back against China’s unfair indigenous innovation policies, and highlight “notorious markets” for the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods.
You can see them at work in TPP, as we seek to combat trade secret theft, take on the rising challenges of cybertheft and work to prevent counterfeit products – from medicines to automobile parts – from threatening consumer health and safety.
You will see them in T-TIP as well.
At the same time, we look to broaden the benefits of innovation to the public, and enable the kind of cross-border collaboration and data exchange that will drive tomorrow’s innovations.
Here we are working to find better ways to foster affordable access to medicines, support freedom of information and encourage the free flow of ideas across the digital world.
To offer some examples: We are asking our TPP partners to accept WTO agreement provisions allowing for the export of generic versions of patented drugs to countries with insufficient manufacturing capacity.
In the TPP, we are proposing a “differentiated approach” for pharmaceutical IP protections which takes into account countries’ individual levels of development and other challenges to ensure that the benefits of innovation are shared with the world’s poor.
And, for the first time in any trade agreement, we are asking our trading partners to secure robust balance in their copyright systems – an unprecedented move that draws directly on U.S.
copyright exceptions and limitations, including fair use for important purposes such as scholarship, criticism, news commentary, teaching, and research.
The balance we are seeking also includes ensures that safe harbors for Internet service providers, or ISPs, are available so that legitimate providers of cloud computing, user-generated content sites and a host of other Internet-related services who act responsibly can thrive online.
I have heard some of our critics suggest that TPP is in some way related to SOPA. Don’t believe it.
This just isn’t true.
Our touchstone in TPP is our strong and balanced domestic legal framework.
The United States will agree to nothing in TPP that goes beyond existing U.S. intellectual property law.
And we will continue to press our partners to allow digital information to cross borders unimpeded. We are working to preserve a single, global Internet, not a Balkanized Internet defined by barriers that would have the effect of limiting the free flow of information and create new opportunities for censorship.
Indeed, fundamental to TPP is the priority of ensuring freedom of the Internet and an open digital environment that will benefit consumers around the world.
Cross-border information flows are important to spurring innovation, incorporating small and medium-sized businesses into the global economy and laying the foundation for the next generation of economic drivers.
These issues get at values more profound than economics. They have ethical foundations built on the most basic concepts of freedom and individual expression.
These are values that are under challenge in some countries and they are values that we must protect, including the privacy of our citizens.
Today I have focused on three substantive values underlying our trade policy. But I’d also like to say a word about the process of trade policy.
The Obama Administration is committed to increased inclusiveness in trade negotiations.
Early in the President’s first term, USTR worked to diversify membership in the advisory system that Congress established to provide official recommendations on trade policy.
We also wanted to expand beyond that system, so we began a process of broad consultations.
That included a new practice of opening the door to stakeholders – hundreds of them from the private sector, the labor community, NGO’s, academia – during negotiating rounds and providing them with a platform for conveying their views directly to the negotiators – not just from the U.S. but from all of our trading partners.
We have strengthened our partnership with Congress, working with expert staff and interested Members through nearly every decision and challenge.
We have consulted with Congress on TPP alone on more than 1,150 separate occasions. We continue to do so daily.
Just last week, I met with more than a dozen Members of Congress on TPP, and my staff held 18 TPP briefings with committee staff – and that was with a snow day!
And while I’m talking about Congress, let me make sure one thing is absolutely clear: Any Member of Congress can see negotiating text any time they request it.
Moreover, before we put forward any U.S. proposal to our negotiating partners, we review it with the committees designated by Congress.
We have heard a lot of discussion about the “cleared advisors” system Congress established.
Our cleared advisors do include representatives from the private sector – as Congress has required.
Some are large employers, but they also include a small manufacturer in Ohio, a family-owned food company in Oregon and similar local business from around the country.
They include representatives of every major labor union; public health groups such as the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids; environmental groups such as Oceana, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Environmental Defense Fund; as well as development NGOs such as Bread for the World.
The Obama Administration has expanded representation on advisory committees to include more voices from academia, NGOs and others with varying views.
Generic drug companies and ISP representatives are represented, and we are in the process of expanding our public health representation.
More importantly, these cleared advisors represent only a small fraction of the input we receive on trade negotiations through a variety of other mechanisms, including directly from stakeholders.
During this Administration, our door has been open to the broadest range of stakeholders possible.
Having said that, we believe there is always room to do better.
So I am pleased to announce some new steps we are taking to improve public understanding of our work.
First, we and the Commerce Department are in the process of re-chartering our advisory committees and, as we put out the Federal Register notice, we invite representatives from all relevant constituencies to apply.
The door is open and we are interested in further diversifying their membership.
Second, I’m pleased to announce that we are upgrading our advisory system to provide a new forum for experts on issues like public health, development and consumer safety.
A new Public Interest Trade Advisory Committee (PITAC) will join the Labor Advisory Committee and the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committees to provide a crosscutting platform for input in the negotiations.
We are calling on NGOs, academics, and other public interest groups to submit their candidates to be founding members of the PITAC.
Finally, I’d like to announce new steps to broaden public information on the progress of negotiations.
In the coming days, we will provide the public with an update on the status of negotiations in the TPP.
Ahead of the next T-TIP negotiating round, we will release a document that further describes our negotiating objectives. And we will provide written updates after each round of negotiations.
Let me conclude with a word on Trade Promotion Authority. As I said, formal grants of negotiating authority date back to the New Deal Congress and FDR’s Reciprocal Trade Agreements.
Then, this authority fully delegated negotiations to the Executive Branch, with Congress taking no role in approving deals once they were negotiated. That is no longer the case.
The process was updated with new consultation requirements and legislative procedures in 1962, 1974, 1988, and 2002.
TPA does three important things:
First, it’s the mechanism by which Congress has worked with every Administration since 1974 to define its marching orders on what to negotiate.
Second, it lays out how the Administration should work with Congress before and during the negotiations.
Third, it sets the legislative procedures for votes to approve or disapprove agreements.
Congress has not updated these instructions since 2002. That was 12 years ago.
Among other things, it predates the bipartisan May 10th agreement on labor, environment and intellectual property rights initiated by House Democrats.
It predates much of the explosion of activity on the Internet and the emergence of the digital economy.
And it doesn’t address newer issues affecting our ability to compete in the global economy, such as leveling the playing field between state-owned enterprises and our private firms.
It is the policy of the Obama Administration to follow the May 10th agreement in trade negotiations. But May 10th is not mandated by law.
We can fix that with Trade Promotion Authority that requires future Administrations to treat labor, environmental, and innovation and access to medicines issues the way the Obama Administration has chosen to treat them.
We are eager for Congress to step forward and update its role in trade negotiations, to make clear which Members or committees should be involved, how those consultations should be conducted and what rules of transparency should apply.
There is a practical reality to this as well. Congress has recognized the infeasibility of designating 535 individual Members of Congress as trade negotiators.
That is why, instead, we work to ensure that every proposal we take in a negotiation is developed in conjunction with the committees Congress designated when it last spoke on the issue in 2002.
Congressional staff attend our negotiating rounds and give real-time feedback as the negotiations proceed.
Indeed, the one thing about “fast track” is that it isn’t particularly short when it comes to Congress’ role.
Rather, it involves an extensive role for Congress prior to start of negotiations, throughout the course of negotiations and, of course, when the negotiations have been completed.
Under TPA, no U.S. trade agreement can enter into force unless Congress has been extensively consulted throughout the negotiating process.