Ambassador Lighthizer Visits Congress To Discuss The President’s Trade Policy Agenda

by King & Spalding
Contact

In June, the Senate Finance Committee and Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives held hearings on the new administration’s trade policy agenda. During the hearings, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and members of Congress discussed key issues at the forefront of the new administration’s U.S. trade agenda that will have a significant impact on the U.S. economy, the United States’ relationship with key trading partners, and U.S. manufacturers. These issues include the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. jobs, and ensuring that other countries follow international trade rules.

Ambassador Lighthizer’s Testimony

In his prepared remarks for both the Senate Finance Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, Ambassador Lighthizer emphasized the renegotiation of NAFTA. Ambassador Lighthizer stated that his office “is talking to stakeholders, [Congressional] staff, and the public to help us develop our policy outcomes for the negotiations. USTR is reviewing the more than 12,400 comments received from everyday Americans during the open-comment process. . . . My staff is now busy reviewing and analyzing those comments, in order to help formulate our positions on how to improve the NAFTA.” He added that “we will be publishing a detailed summary of the negotiating objectives at least 30 days before the negotiations begin.” On May 18, and as required by law, Ambassador Lighthizer provided a 90-day notice to Congress of the administration’s intent to renegotiate NAFTA. This means that negotiations can begin as early as August.

Ambassador Lighthizer added that, as required by Executive Order 13796, USTR’s Office of General Counsel “is in the process of examining our trade relationships and identifying issues that can be addressed through enforcement of U.S. trade laws. We believe that too little has been done in this area in recent years, and we are actively assessing ways to get tough on countries who do not respect our economic system.” In mentioning a “big victory” for the United States in a World Trade Organization (WTO) case brought by the European Union involving large civil aircraft, Ambassador Lighthizer also said that “I look forward to continuing the trend of defending American businesses against unfair claims from foreign nations. Further, we will not hesitate to file claims against nations that do not follow the rules.”

Senate Finance Committee Hearing

In his prepared statement at the Senate Finance Committee hearing, Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch emphasized that “the upcoming negotiations with Canada and Mexico provide the administration with a unique opportunity to improve North American integration. This will make the region a more attractive investment and manufacturing hub and serve as a counterweight to China.” According to Chairman Hatch, “the best way to ensure a strong U.S. economy through trade is to negotiate deals with foreign nations that require them to play by our rules, and allow us to hold those countries accountable when they fail to do so.” He also stated that building and maintaining a healthy U.S. economy “requires a trade policy that not only increases economic opportunities for American companies and consumers, but also holds foreign nations accountable when they abuse the system.” Chairman Hatch continued to say that “ensuring that our trading partners follow the rules is only part of the equation. Establishing those rules also is in our national interest.”

In his prepared remarks, Ranking Member Wyden stated that “the trade agenda ought to be focused on creating more high-skill, high-wage middle-class jobs right here in the United States—red, white and blue jobs. That means aggressively going after trade cheats to make sure our U.S. workers are competing on a level playing field, and it means opening up new markets for the Oregon brand and the American brand.” He focused much of his remarks on NAFTA, stating that “NAFTA could use a complete overhaul.” Specifically, his idea of a NAFTA overhaul would result in “high-standard, enforceable labor and environmental commitments; removing Chapter 19 (binational panel reviews of antidumping and countervailing duty determinations), which hampers our ability to fight unfair trade practices; and addressing challenges that are specific to dairy, wine and key manufacturing industries. The U.S. also needs to combat currency manipulation, market-distorting state owned enterprises, and the trade cheats that have become more sophisticated in evading our trade enforcers.”

House Ways and Means Committee Hearing

Ways and Means Committee leadership discussed similar issues in its June 22 hearing. Committee Chairman Kevin Brady considered NAFTA renegotiation in the context of U.S. free trade agreements, stating that “[o]ur trade agreements, including NAFTA, have been tremendously successful. They’ve created American jobs, lowered prices for consumers, and helped our businesses compete and win in all three crucial segments of our economy: agriculture, services, and, yes, manufacturing.” “That said,” Chairman Brady added, “we have to take action to strengthen our existing agreements to ensure they continue to benefit the American people. I’m pleased that President Trump is taking this approach with NAFTA. NAFTA was negotiated nearly 25 years ago. It should be updated to reflect the modern realities of trade” on issues such as “digital commerce, intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, and customs barriers.”

In his prepared remarks, Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal also mentioned NAFTA renegotiation, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and a number of other trade issues. Ranking Member Neal expressed hope that Ambassador Lighthizer could “clarify the Administration’s position on the full range of trade issues today, from the specific objectives of a NAFTA rewrite, to the Administration’s position on negotiating TTIP and an Environmental Goods Agreement, to how the Administration will address currency manipulation, to the Administration’s current thinking in the steel and aluminum national security investigations.” Ranking Member Neal concluded that “[w]e look forward to working with you to prioritize the needs of American workers and families through our trade policy.”

These hearings and the subjects that were discussed set the stage for an eventful 2017 and beyond for U.S. trade policy.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© King & Spalding | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

King & Spalding
Contact
more
less

King & Spalding on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.