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USTR Public Hearing on the TPP and Canada

Yesterday, eleven stakeholder witnesses spoke before the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) to give testimony on Canada’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The TPP is a multilateral trade agreement that will boost U.S. exports to the growing economies of the Asia-Pacific region. As preparations begin for Canada’s entry, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and its interagency partners are soliciting public comments to help inform negotiating work and strengthen U.S. proposals.

USTR public hearing on TPP and Canada
Stakeholders testify at yesterday's hearing.

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Barbara Weisel opened the hearing with a prepared statement in which she explained how Canada’s entry into the TPP could offer a promising platform for regional economic integration. Following the statement, stakeholders representing agriculture, pharmaceutical, intellectual property, automaker, and homebuilder industry associations, along with business, non-governmental organizations, and organized labor, testified before the Committee. They raised several topics for discussion including customs, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, intellectual property, transparency, state-owned enterprises and enforcement.

In a statement, William Roenigk, speaking on behalf of the National Chicken Council and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, said that Canada joining the TPP would be a positive opportunity for the poultry industry, “provided that Canada agree – in advance – to put its import protection policies on the negotiating table and if there is an appropriate and successful conclusion to the negotiations.”

USTR public hearing on TPP and Canada
Members of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), at a hearing chaired by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Trade Policy and Economics, Doug Bell.

The United States trades more with its northern neighbor than with any other single nation, and as witness Jodi Bond from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the TPSC in her testimony, a quarter trillion dollars are spent by Canadians on U.S. exports every year, representing twenty percent of total U.S. exports and supporting 8 million American jobs. However, lowering tariffs, reducing non-tariff barriers to trade, and aligning regulatory measures could strengthen this relationship even further, acting as an “economic shot in the arm,” according to Bond, the Vice President of the Americas at the U.S. Chamber.

At the conclusion of testimony, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Trade Policy and Economics Doug Bell thanked the stakeholders for their efforts and said the information shared would “be of great value” to USTR with respect to TPP negotiating positions.

 USTR public hearing on TPP and Canada
Members of the public listen to testimony at the public hearing yesterday.

The TPP provides the opportunity for the U.S. and Canada to update their trade framework to reflect the technological advancements and regulatory complexities of the twenty-first century, and holds great opportunities for supporting quality jobs in the U.S.