As the Administration moves to begin negotiations with Europe on a wide-ranging trade deal with the European Union, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter today to President Obama urging him to leave the issue of financial reform out of the trade talks.
Ranking Member Waters, a long-time supporter of efforts to foster international economic cooperation in a number of areas, states, "that a trade agreement with the E.U., if properly executed, could generate substantial additional economic benefits on both sides of the Atlantic."
"I understand that the Administration is being pressured to introduce financial regulatory issues into these negotiations in a manner that could undermine those reforms and ongoing multilater out of al harmonization work in this area," Ranking Member Waters writes in her letter. "I believe this would be a serious error, and I strongly urge you to reject such an approach," the letter continues.
The full text of the letter is below.
June 18, 2013
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
U.S. businesses and workers benefit tremendously from trade and investment between the European Union and the United States, and I believe that a trade agreement with the E.U., if properly executed, could generate substantial additional economic benefits on both sides of the Atlantic.
As the Administration moves to begin such negotiations through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), I write to express my views on a key aspect of the U.S. negotiating priorities. While I support the inclusion of financial services in the negotiations to addresses market access issues for U.S. companies, these negotiations must not be allowed to conflict with important financial reforms Congress has passed and that our regulators are currently implementing. I understand that the Administration is being pressured to introduce financial regulatory issues into these negotiations in a manner that could undermine those reforms and ongoing multilateral harmonization work in this area. I believe this would be a serious error, and I strongly urge you to reject such an approach.
Efforts are already underway to reach regulatory convergence with European and Asian markets through the G-20 and the Financial Stability Board, and the U.S. has already obtained commitments from all G-20 and Financial Stability Board members to improve their standards to the levels that that our regulators are implementing. Parallel and potentially conflicting negotiations between the U.S. and Europe would be counterproductive. These are not uniquely bilateral issues, and it is crucial that we maintain a multilateral focus so that all of the countries in the G-20, not just EU members, implement these commitments in a globally consistent manner.
In addition, these multilateral commitments are expected to be met on a faster timeline than that contemplated by the TTIP process. We would be ill advised to delay that progress. I urge you to keep financial regulatory areas subject to other negotiations out of the TTIP process.
CC: Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury