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PCI Trade Blog

US Trade Policy

A Holiday Wish for Peaceful Resolution of the Transatlantic Food Name Fight

‘Tis the Season for Gastronomic Indulgence -- and some associated thoughts on Geographical Indications.  This is a trade policy menu item that causes considerable indigestion, but it can’t be left behind on the plate if there is to be a transatlantic free trade accord.

Holiday gatherings among our family and friends have become epicurean  tours du monde.  Not only do they include traditional American fare, but also meats, cheeses, wines and spirits from just about everywhere. 

Fast Track Opponents are Off-Track in Maligning Multinationals

Last Friday, as the Senate prepared to wind up its debate over TPA (also known as “Fast Track”) legislation, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) took to the floor to reiterate his opposition:
“In looking at trade bills that have passed in Congress in the years past, it’s not going to help the people I want to help.  I’m happy that multinational corporations are doing well, but my first goal is not them.  It’s people who work for a living.”
The Senate approved the legislation, but prominent Democrats in the House of Representatives, where the TPA bill will face a tougher battle, share Sen.

Money and Spanking: The Quest for Enforceable Currency Rules

After years of political wrangling over whether Congress should enact strong measures to counter exchange rate manipulation by China or other countries, a donnybrook is brewing in conjunction with congressional consideration of new Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The outcome could determine the fate of major trade negotiations. 
Whatever the merits, if enforceable exchange rate disciplines become a principal U.S. negotiating objective at this stage, prospects for concluding a Trans Pacific Partnership or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement would be thrown into greater doubt.

Pistachios and Ports

The West Coast ports labor dispute that has been dragging on since last summer is causing measurable economic damage.  At the very least, it must be an impediment to faster growth. It’s certainly driving export and import businesses nuts — not least America’s pistachio growers, whose national day of celebration is coming up on February 26.  Unfortunately their heaviest marketing period has collided with the worsening ports slowdown.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Census Bureau issued its foreign trade report for December 2014,  provisionally completing the data set for the entire year.

TTIP -- The Toast of Bordeaux

Kathryn Hauser is in Europe this week, sharing her U.S.-EU trade policy insights and hearing views from the other side of the pond. Today's stop: beautiful Bordeaux. Here's an announcement from the Dec. 3 edition of the region's main economic newspaper,La Tribune Objectif Aquitaine:

Libre-échange : 2 experts américains en visite à Bordeaux

Aujourd'hui et demain matin, deux experts américains de l'accord de libre-échange entre l'Europe et les Etats-Unis répondent à l'invitation de Thomas Wolf, le consul des Etats-Unis à Bordeaux.

Focus on the "M" in SMEs

Focus on the “M” in SMEs
Kathryn Hauser
November 24, 2014
As the United States and European Union continue negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), priority is being given to the impact of an agreement on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  Indeed, an entire chapter of the T-TIP negotiating text is devoted to the particular challenges that American and European SMEs face in navigating the maze of regulations and obstacles to trade across the Atlantic.

Resetting T-TIP: Three Points for Reflection

Resetting the T-TIP: Three Points for Reflection
It’s great news that USTR Michael Froman and the new EU trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström have agreed to meet in mid-December to evaluate progress on T-TIP and “reset” the direction of these important talks.  As they prepare for their first face-to-face meeting, I suggest three important issues for reflection.
1.             History offers some perspective: The Williams Commission

How's that T-TIP Thing Workin' for Ya?

The T-TIP Negotiators’ Challenge:“How’s that T-TIP Thing Workin’ for Ya?”
by Kathryn Hauser
October 28, 2014
The well-known American TV talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw has a line he often uses with guests to snap them out of delusional thinking and back to reality: “So, how’s that workin’ for ya?”  This is the question we need to put to American and European negotiators who have now completed seven rounds of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and have precious little to show for their effort.

Importance of Insurance in T-TIP

We are pleased to share the following blog on the importance of including liberalization of insurance in the T-TIP negotiations.  The article was written by Steve Simchak, director of international affairs at the American Insurance Association in Washington. He can be reached at and 202-828-7133.

It's a Partnership, Stupid!

It’s aPartnership, Stupid!
By Kathryn Hauser
October 7, 2014
Trade negotiators from the United States and the European Union just met in Washington last week for the seventh round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).  I participated in the so-called Stakeholder Consultation that the two negotiating teams had arranged for -- and came away with the sense that the negotiators have lost their way. 
As somebody who has long been involved in, and advocated for, an intensifying transatlantic business relationship, I do not say this lightly.
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