Baucus, Hatch Outline Trade Priorities
February 15, 2013

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (Utah) this week laid out their priorities to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for a potential free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the European Union (EU). In their letter to Ambassador Kirk, the senators set high-standard expectations for any FTA. 
 
"A comprehensive US-EU FTA, negotiated and implemented with the highest standards, would have a multiplier effect and would be certain to generate much needed economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic," the finance leaders wrote. "There is no doubt that a US-EU FTA is an enticing opportunity. While there is much promise in the country's relationship, there are remaining barriers to free and fair trade that are long-standing and difficult to overcome." 
 
The senators identified several priorities ahead of any negotiation process, including:
 
access for U.S. agricultural exports like beef and pork;
strong intellectual property protection;
access for U.S. services exports;
regulatory compliance; and
a mechanism for dispute settlement.
They also wrote that they intend to push for renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), saying it will enable the consideration and completion of a successful US-EU FTA. TPA expired in 2007. 
 
The finance committee has jurisdiction over international trade. 
 
The full text of the letter is available at www.sheepusa.org/user_files/file_1194.pdf.