USTR Wants Agriculture To Lead WTO Talks Post-Bali

While World Trade Organization members must focus on implementing a modest batch of trade concessions reached last year in Bali, Indonesia, talks for a more expansive deal should also move ahead with agricultural provisions taking the lead, the top U.S. trade official said Wednesday.

Update from the USTR: U.S.- Pakistan Trade Relations

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Washington, D.C. today. Their meeting stressed the vitality of the trade relationship between the United States and Pakistan, which in 2012 was valued at $5.2 billion. Both parties vowed to work together to strengthen their bilateral trade and investment relationship as it in   their mutual best interest.

Progress has been made in addressing issues that have resulted from the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between the two nations. Additionally, Ambassador Froman   offered to host the next TIFA council meeting here in Washington, D.C.

 

Source: USTR, Image: http://www.coldwarstudies.com/2011/05/02/cold-war-timeline-pakistan/

 

From the Embassy of Liechtenstein CLICK TO READ

News reaches us from Liechtenstein about the visit of Foreign Minister Frick to Washington and to the Advocacy Project placing Peace Fellows in developing countries. For direct linkage with the Embassy’s Newsletter click here.

Foreign Minister Frick Visits Washington

On September 23 Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick visited Washington. Foreign Minister Frick used the one-day visit as an opportunity to showcase Liechtenstein as an active trader with the US as well as internationally. The US is Liechtenstein’s second largest trading partner (after the European Union) and Liechtenstein industrial companies are important players in the US automotive, construction, audio-visual, and dental industries, to name just a few. Internationally, Liechtenstein is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which is made up of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. As countries that are highly integrated into the EU’s Single Market, EFTA is the world’s 8th largest trader in goods and 5th largest in services.

Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick with Dan Mullaney, Assistant USTR for Europe and the Middle East.

As the current Chair of the EFTA Council, Minister Frick’s visit focused on learning more about the negotiations between the US and EU on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which seeks to reduce barriers and increase trade in goods and services. As part of a trade dialogue established in July between EFTA and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Foreign Minister Frick met with Dan Mullaney, Assistant USTR for Europe and the Middle East. She explained that within specific industries and given their geographic locations, EFTA members play vital roles in the European and US supply chain of goods and therefore have a keen interest in the development of the TTIP talks. Assistant USTR Mullaney welcomed the dialogue with EFTA and reiterated the USTR’s wish to to explore discussions on bolstering trade and investment.

Foreign Minister Frick’s visit also included a visit to The Advocacy Project, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and supported by the Government of Liechtenstein and for which Ambassador Claudia Fritsche serves as a member of the board. The Advocacy Project recruits graduate students, placing them as Peace Fellow, along with partnering organizations, in marginalized communities in developing countries in a grass roots effort to aid them in claiming their rights and producing social change.

To view the article on the Embassy’s website click here.

Online Resources and the Government shutdown to be felt

Effects of the US government shutdown are made to be felt throughout the economy. Furloughed employees are no longer working at all, military commissaries are closed indefinitely and government funded websites are no longer running. Many of these curtailments are unnecessary and designed to foment discontent.

One positive example is the website of he United States Trade Representative. It states:

“Due to lapse in funding, the USTR website will remain live, but without updates, for the duration of the government shutdown.”

There needs to be respect for the budget responsibility of the U.S. House of Representatives -but there also exists a requirement for the fiduciary duty of government financial recipients to stretch resources the furthest length possible and to devise innovative ways to continue as much work and service as at all possible.

Budget disputes should not become a cause to demonstrate worst possible outcomes. Offices which fall prey to partisanship in the budget dispute run the risk for themselves and their constituents that long memories it might lead to transformational budget changes for them

Post your thoughts in the comment section below!

News from the USTR: TTIP Update from Brussels

Today, the United States Trade Representative Michael Froman addressed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership during his stay in Brussels.

Highlights:

“Today, the U.S. and the European Union are each other’s largest economic partners, with $2.6 billion dollars’ worth of goods and services flowing between us each day. We invest nearly $4 trillion in each other’s economies, creating the world’s largest investment relationship. And more than 13 million people owe their jobs to the transatlantic economic relationship. The U.S.-EU economic partnership is second to none.

“But we know that we can do more. We can do more for economic growth. We can do more to create jobs. We can do more to strengthen rules-based trade that supports the entire global trading system.

“And that is precisely why we launched the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or T-TIP. Together with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, and the work being done at the WTO to negotiate a multilateral Trade Facilitation agreement, a plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and an expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), we see T-TIP as an opportunity to raise the standards, to introduce new disciplines and ultimately to strengthen the multilateral trading system.

Read more here.