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News & Press: WIPP Legislative Updates

Trade Policy Moves in Congress

Monday, April 27, 2015  
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Policy Briefing Week of April 20

Trade Policy Moves in Congress

Trade is gaining momentum in Congress, despite objections on the progressive wing of the Democratic party and the far right of the Republican party. Despite objections, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees approved TPA legislation. If passed by Congress, TPA would allow the Administration to submit trade legislation for a yes-or-no vote. Congress would not have the ability to amend the agreements. Enacting TPA would advance two of the largest trade agreements in history: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Pacific Rim countries and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with Europe. Part of the negotiations is lowering tariffs and other barriers to trade (e.g., regulatory barriers). The Obama Administration’s goal with TPP and T-TIP is to encourage more US exports and increase access to foreign markets.

To coincide with the Senate’s approval of TPA, the ninth round of the T-TIP negotiations were held the same week in New York City. Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney emphasized that T-TIP intends to incorporate measures that would increase export opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are defined in the US as firms with less than 500 employees. Mullaney also stated the importance of more robust intellectual property rights (IPR) for SMEs in T-TIP, and indicated that negotiators wish to make IPR more relevant to small businesses. Increased export opportunities for SMEs and robust intellectual property protections are critical for women businesses, which are growing in size and looking to export to new markets.

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