Senators Set Priorities on EU Trade Deal

Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg

Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, left, and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the committee, in Washington in this file photo.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and ranking member Orrin Hatch, a  Utah Republican, have given U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk  their priorities concerning a potential agreement on trade,  investment, and regulatory cooperation between the U.S. and  European Union, Bloomberg BNA’s Len Bracken reports.

The senators, whose committee has jurisdiction over international trade, identified several priorities ahead of any negotiation process, including access for U.S. agricultural exports, notably beef and pork; strong intellectual property protection; access for U.S. services exports; regulatory compliance; and a mechanism for dispute settlement, according
to a letter they sent yesterday.

The senators also wrote that they intend to push for renewal of trade promotion authority, the fast-track congressional approval process for trade agreements that expired in 2007.

The previous authority provided for up or down congressional votes on the agreements within strict time limits.  In his State of the Union address yesterday, President Barack Obama said he wants to begin trade talks with the  European Union.

“Negotiations will not be easy, but they have enormous potential to open new opportunities for us to sell our goods and services in the EU,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican.

“I welcome the president’s movement forward on this effort and look forward to consulting closely with the administration,” Camp wrote, according to Bloomberg’s Joi Preciphs.

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