Bicameral Trade Agenda Hearings Held on the HillJanuary 28, 2015
Following President Barack Obama’s request for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) renewal in his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, two congressional hearings were held this week on the U.S. trade policy agenda, where the need for bipartisan support in any TPA bill moving forward was raised and discussed at length.
On Tuesday, Jan. 27, both the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Ways and Means Committee held hearings with their sole witness U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, to examine the status and potential impact of trade policy on American businesses and workers–namely TPA legislation. USTR Froman also discussed the two pending trade agreements the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Asia-Pacific countries, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently discussed with the European Union, and negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO). At the widely-attended hearings, both Republicans and Democrats raised concerns on various issues of importance to small-business exporters, such as: unfair international trade practices, including intellectual property (IP) theft, currency manipulation, and other non-tariff barriers to trade and their impact on U.S. exporting. Ambassador Froman assured members in both chambers that the USTR and administration are committed to address these concerns by expanding trade agreements that reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, harmonize regulations, while also providing stronger trade enforcement and intellectual property protections.