[Ip-health] Bloomberg: Froman Faces Trade Maze on Hill

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu May 1 21:29:58 PDT 2014


Froman Faces Trade Maze on Hill

2014<http://go.bloomberg.com/political-capital/2014/05/01/> 3:29

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has a tough job: Wrestling with
dozens of foreign governments to hammer out the largest trade deals in

An even harder task may be winning support at home.

Senate Democrats and Republicans unloaded their concerns about President
Barack Obama’s global trade agenda today during a Senate Finance Committee

“Too often, there is trade secrecy instead of trade transparency” in
negotiations, Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, told Froman. Sen.
Orrin Hatch of Utah, the committee’s top Republican, said the U.S. needs to
be more aggressive in stopping violations of intellectual property rights.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he won’t support a
Pacific-rim deal that lacks provisions to stop currency manipulation that
distorts trade.

The lawmakers’ comments underscore the difficulty the Obama administration
has in completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a separate deal with
the 28-nation European Union. Froman said the accords will help the U.S.
set trade rules on issues including labor and the environment.

“Other countries aren’t waiting for us, they’re moving ahead without us,”
he told lawmakers. “This is our opportunity to show leadership.”

He defended the administration, saying his office held more than 1,250
meetings with Congress on the Pacific accord and saying Obama has been more
aggressive than his predecessor on trade enforcement with China in

“We’re very much concerned about currency” to ensure U.S. companies can
compete fairly with their overseas counterparts, he said. The issue isn’t a
part of the Pacific talks, he said. Administration officials say the
Treasury Department is responsible for dealing with manipulation.

If concluded, the Pacific and Atlantic accords would link regions with
about $45 trillion in annual economic output, about 62 percent of the world
total. The Obama administration says the proposed accords will boost
exports and create jobs.

Froman said the U.S. is making progress, particularly in the Pacific talks.
Negotiators from the U.S. and Japan, at odds over market-access rules for
goods in the agricultural and auto sectors, last week “reached a milestone”
in sorting out a way to deal with those issues, he said.

Chief negotiators working toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership will meet
later this month in Vietnam. The next round of talks for the Trans-Atlantic
Trade and Investment Partnership are scheduled to take place May 19-23 in
Arlington, Virginia.

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