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On December 13, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson met with the Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC). This was the sixth meeting of this committee during the Obama Administration. With members representing a wide range of stakeholders—from NGOs to the private sector and several think tanks –TEPAC is a policy advisory committee tasked with providing advice to USTR and EPA staff on the implementation and negotiation of trade and environment policies. The committee is administered by USTR.
The TEPAC meeting began with Ambassador Kirk and Administrator Jackson updating stakeholders on recent achievements, including the passage of three historic trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea, as well as recent progress made on the cutting-edge Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Additionally, Ambassador Kirk emphasized the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) green growth results on Environmental Goods and Services (EGS) and illegal logging at the Honolulu leaders’ meetings in November. Both Administrator Jackson and Ambassador Kirk emphasized the importance of revitalizing trade and environment collaboration through the NAFTA Free Trade Commission and the North American Council on Environmental Cooperation.
Additionally, Ambassador Kirk looked to the future on progress set to be made at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial in Geneva, Switzerland later this week. The United States is looking towards the eighth ministerial, which starts Thursday, December 15, to turn the page on the Doha Round of negotiations while ensuring that environmental priorities remain a top focus. For this reason, the United States continues to look to all opportunities—like APEC on environmental goods and TPP on fisheries subsidies—to move environmental trade issues forward.