Ways and Means Committee Democrats today sent the below letter urging U.S. Trade Representative Kirk to incorporate and defend in the on-going Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations the elements of the May 10, 2007 agreement between Congress and the Bush Administration. The May 10 agreement includes critical obligations designed to raise living standards in the United States and abroad.
The Honorable Ronald Kirk
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20508
Dear Ambassador Kirk:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations provide a rare and important opportunity for the United States to craft a trade agreement that reflects American values and helps to rebuild bipartisan support for trade in the United States. The consensus that was reached between Congress and the Bush Administration on May 10, 2007 was an historic first step in that direction, laying out key obligations to help raise living standards at home and abroad. We urge you to incorporate and defend the May 10 Agreement as you develop the U.S. position in the TPP negotiations.
The President's 2010 Trade Policy Agenda recognized the task at hand, and the opportunity, in negotiating the TPP: "Building on the most forward-looking aspects of existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and on the emerging special opportunities and challenges characterizing the Asia-Pacific market, the United States intends to shape a broad, deep, and high quality 21st century regional trade agreement." The May 10 components of our most recent FTAs are, without question, some of the most forward-looking aspects of the U.S. FTA program. While more work can be done to ensure that our trade agreements reflect our values and interests, and gain bipartisan congressional support and broad public support, the May 10 Agreement is a critical basis to any successful conclusion of the TPP negotiations.
We look forward to working with you as TPP negotiations move forward.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.