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By Nadya Khapochkina, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
On May 29th and 30th, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in conjunction with the Interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), chaired a public hearing on U.S. negotiating objectives for the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. A comprehensive TTIP agreement would augment the United States’ already extensive trade relationship with the European Union (EU), and would build a stronger economic partnership that would benefit businesses of all sizes and increase employment opportunities and growth on both sides of the Atlantic. Over sixty interested witnesses testified at the TTIP hearing, representing a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including manufacturers, farm groups, service suppliers, labor unions, consumer groups, environmental organizations, and state governments.
USTR and other agencies are engaged in a 90-day consultation process regarding the proposed TTIP agreement. USTR-led teams have held many meetings with Members of Congress, and USTR received more than 360 submissions on TTIP from a variety of stakeholders via an online Federal Register solicitation. This ongoing dialogue with Congress, the private sector, and the public has given USTR negotiators a valuable opportunity to hear from stakeholders before beginning the negotiations, and will ensure that the final TTIP agreement takes important public interests into account. And this will not be the final opportunity to provide views; USTR will welcome additional input throughout the negotiation process.
The United States and the EU account for nearly half of global GDP and thirty percent of global trade. Each day, goods and services worth nearly $3 billion are traded across the Atlantic, and the investment relationship between the United States and European Union reached nearly $4 trillion in 2011. Roughly 13 million jobs in the United States and the EU are supported by transatlantic trade and investment.
The United States and the EU will seek to negotiate an agreement that eliminates tariffs and reduces non-tariff barriers that increase the costs of transatlantic commerce. The two sides will also seek to address emerging challenges for global trade. A transcript of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership public hearing is available here.