Within hours after meeting with congressional offices this morning at Congressman McIntyre's request, the United States Trade Representative informed McIntyre this afternoon that they will delay the introduction of tobacco related text to give industry stakeholders a greater opportunity to weigh in on the proposal.
Congressman McIntyre stated, "I am pleased that the USTR is taking more time to consider this proposal carefully by gauging the impact that it will have on the economy of North Carolina and the nation. Including a safe harbor provision in the trade deal will treat tobacco unfairly, and the Administration needs to hear from the farming and business community that opposes this effort."
Earlier today U.S. Congressman McIntyre hosted a meeting between Ambassador Siddiqui, Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Government, and key staff from congressional offices, the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Following the meeting, the Administration announced plans to hold off on the introduction of the tobacco language to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement in order to hear from a wider audience of stakeholders.
The USTR is in the process of drafting specific language for the treatment of tobacco in the TPP, which is a trade agreement being negotiated between nine countries -- Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The TPP is one of the largest trade deals ever to be negotiated by the United States and, if enacted, would remove restrictions to trade between participating countries.
Congressman McIntyre made clear the harm of a potential tobacco carve out in the TPP. Congressman McIntyre has been in regular communications with the USTR on the treatment of tobacco in the TPP and will continue to push United Trade Representative Kirk to draft a trade agreement that does not unduly harm North Carolina agriculture.