By Isaac Faz, Acting Assistant USTR for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
Today, Ambassador Kirk hosted the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) at its biannual meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Ambassador Kirk reviewed the work of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) over the last year, and also touched on its continuing efforts to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), expand trade opportunities in Africa, and enhance trade enforcement with the help of the newly formed Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC).
Harold "Terry" McGraw of McGraw-Hill Companies moderates Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations Conference
Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling and Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman delivered trade-related updates to the Committee as well. Director Sperling spoke on the need to do everything we can to strengthen America’s economic recovery while maintaining long-term fiscal discipline, and to ensure that we invest in infrastructure, skills, and research and technology. Deputy National Security Advisor Froman addressed ongoing international trade initiatives, and reiterated the importance of granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to Russia. Establishing PNTR with Russia will ensure that U.S. businesses, workers, and innovators can reap the full benefits of Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Ambassador Kirk speaks at this year's second ACTPN meeting.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro, USTR General Counsel Tim Reif, and Director of ITEC Brad Ward all provided additional input for the committee members. During the open discussion, members asked specific questions on a range of topics that included China, the TPP, a potential trade agreement with the European Union, and the recently implemented trade agreement with Colombia.
In closing, Ambassador Kirk thanked the members for their service and noted that October 11, 2012, was the 50th Anniversary of USTR, which was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy.