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Office of United States Trade Representative

Request for Comments Concerning
Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership
Trade Agreement

AGENCY: Office of the United States
Trade Representative (USTR).
ACTION: Notice of intent to enter into
negotiations on a Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and
request for comments.

——————————————————

SUMMARY: The United States intends to
enter into negotiations on a TPP trade
agreement with the objective of shaping
a high-standard, broad-based regional
agreement. USTR is seeking public
comments on all elements of the
agreement in order to develop U.S.
negotiating positions.
DATES: Written comments are due by
January 25, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submissions via on-line:
http://www.regulations.gov. For
alternatives to on-line submissions
please contact Gloria Blue, Executive
Secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee
(TPSC), at (202) 3953475.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For procedural questions concerning written
comments, please contact Gloria Blue at
the above number. All other questions
regarding the TPP trade agreement
should be directed to David Bisbee,
Deputy Assistant USTR for Southeast
Asia and Pacific, at (202) 3956813.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Background
USTR is observing the relevant
procedures of the Bipartisan Trade
Promotion Authority Act of 2002 (19

U.S.C. 3804), which apply to agreements
entered into before July 1, 2007, with
respect to notifying and consulting with
Congress regarding the TPP trade
agreement negotiations. These
procedures include providing Congress
with 90 days advance written notice of
the Presidents intent to enter into
negotiations and consulting with
appropriate Congressional committees
regarding the negotiations. To that end,
on December 14, 2009, after having
consulted with relevant Congressional
committees, the USTR notified Congress
that the President intends to enter into
negotiations of the agreement with the
TPP countries with the objective of
shaping a high-standard, 21st century
agreement with a membership and
coverage that provides economically
significant market access opportunities
for Americas workers, farmers,
ranchers, service providers, and small
businesses. Our initial TPP negotiating
partners include Australia, Brunei
Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru,
Singapore and Vietnam. The U.S.
objective is to expand on this initial
group to include additional countries
throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition, under the Trade Act of
1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2151,
2153), in the case of an agreement such
as the proposed TPP trade agreement,
the President must (i) afford interested
persons an opportunity to present their
views regarding any matter relevant to
the proposed agreement, (ii) designate
an agency or inter-agency committee to
hold a public hearing regarding the
proposed agreement, and (iii) seek the
advice of the U.S. International Trade
Commission (ITC) regarding the
probable economic effects on U.S.
industries and consumers of the
removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers
on imports pursuant to the proposed
agreement.

USTR held a public hearing regarding
the proposed TPP trade agreement on
March 4, 2009, and intends to hold
additional public hearings on specific
issues pertaining to the proposed
negotiations in early 2010. In addition,
USTR has requested the ITC to provide
advice to USTR on the probable
economic effects of an agreement.

2. Public Comments
The TPSC Chair invites interested
parties to submit written comments to
assist USTR as it develops its
negotiating objectives for the proposed
regional agreement. Comments may
address the reduction or elimination of
tariffs or non-tariff barriers on any
articles provided for in the Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States
(HTSUS) that are products of a TPP
country, any concession that should be
sought by the United States, or any
other matter relevant to the proposed
agreement. The TPSC Chair invites
comments on all of these matters and,
in particular, seeks comments addressed
to:

(a) General and product-specific
negotiating objectives for the proposed
regional agreement.
(b) Economic costs and benefits to
U.S. producers and consumers of
removal of tariffs and removal or
reduction in non-tariff barriers on
articles traded with the seven TPP
countries.
(c) Treatment of specific goods
(described by HTSUS numbers) under
the proposed regional agreement,
including comments on
(1) Product-specific import or export
interests or barriers,
(2) Experience with particular
measures that should be addressed in
the negotiations, and
(3) Approach to tariff negotiations,
including recommended staging and
ways to address export priorities and
import sensitivities in the context of this
regional agreement.
(d) Adequacy of existing customs
measures to ensure that imported goods
originate from the TPP countries, and
appropriate rules of origin for goods
entering the United States under the
proposed regional agreement.
(e) Existing sanitary and
phytosanitary measures and technical
barriers to trade imposed by any of the
TPP countries that should be addressed
in the negotiations.
(f) Existing barriers to trade in
services between the United States and
any of the TPP countries that should be
addressed in the negotiations.
(g) Relevant electronic commerce
issues that should be addressed in the
negotiations.
(h) Relevant trade-related intellectual
property rights issues that should be
addressed in the negotiations.
(i) Relevant investment issues that
should be addressed in the negotiations.
(j) Relevant competition-related
matters that should be addressed in the
negotiations.
(k) Relevant government procurement
issues that should be addressed in the
negotiations.
(l) Relevant environmental issues that
should be addressed in the negotiations.
(m) Relevant labor issues that should
be addressed in the negotiations.
In commenting on these matters,
USTR invites interested parties to take
into account the objective of expanding
the TPP trade agreement to include
other countries in the Asia-Pacific
region.

In addition to the matters described
above, USTR is considering addressing
new and emerging issues in this
regional agreement. Accordingly, the
TPSC Chair invites comments on
approaches that would promote
innovation and competitiveness,
encourage new technologies and
emerging economic sectors, increase the
participation of small- and medium-
sized businesses in trade, and support
the development of efficient production
and supply chains that include U.S.
firms in order to encourage firms to
invest and produce in the United States.
The TPSC Chair also invites comments
on ways to address other trade-related
priorities in this regional agreement,
including environmental protection and
conservation, transparency, workers
rights and protections, development,
and other issues. Finally, because the
TPP trade agreement will be a regional
agreement, the TPSC Chair also invites
comments on ways to use the agreement
to facilitate trade and promote
regulatory coherence and cooperation
within the region.

At a later date, USTR, through the
TPSC, will publish notice of reviews
regarding (a) the possible environmental
effects of the proposed agreement and
the scope of the U.S. environmental
review of the proposed agreement, and
(b) the impact of the proposed
agreement on U.S. employment and
labor markets.

3. Requirements for Submissions
Persons submitting comments must
do so in English and must identify (on
the first page of the submission) the
United StatesTrans-Pacific
Partnership Trade Agreement. In order
to be assured of consideration,
comments should be submitted by
January 25, 2010.

In order to ensure the timely receipt
and consideration of comments, USTR
strongly encourages commenters to
make on-line submissions, using the
http://www.regulations.gov Web site.
Comments should be submitted under
the following docket: USTR20090041.
To find the docket, enter the docket
number in the Enter Keyword or ID
window at the http://
www.regulations.gov home page and
click Search. The site will provide a
search-results page listing all documents
associated with this docket. Find a
reference to this notice by selecting
Notices under Document Type on
the search-results page, and click on the
link entitled Submit a Comment. (For
further information on using the
www.regulations.gov Web site, please
consult the resources provided on the
Web site by clicking on the Help tab.)

The http://www.regulations.gov Web
site provides the option of making
submissions by filling in a comments
field, or by attaching a document. USTR
prefers submissions to be provided in an
attached document. If a document is
attached, it is sufficient to type See
attached in the Type comment &
Upload File field. USTR prefers
submissions in Microsoft Word (.doc) or
Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). If the submission
is in an application other than those
two, please indicate the name of the
application in the Comments field.

For any comments submitted
electronically containing business
confidential information, the file name
of the business confidential version
should begin with the characters BC.
Any page containing business
confidential information must be clearly
marked BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL
on the top of that page. Filers of
submissions containing business
confidential information must also
submit a public version of their
comments. The file name of the public
version should begin with the character
P. The BC and P should be
followed by the name of the person or
entity submitting the comments or reply
comments. Filers submitting comments
containing no business confidential
information should name their file using
the character P, followed by the name
of the person or entity submitting the
comments.

Please do not attach separate cover
letters to electronic submissions; rather,
include any information that might
appear in a cover letter in the comments
themselves. Similarly, to the extent
possible, please include any exhibits,
annexes, or other attachments in the
same file as the submission itself, not as
separate files.

USTR strongly urges submitters to file
comments through regulations.gov, if at
all possible. Any alternative
arrangements must be made with Ms.
Blue in advance of transmitting a
comment. Ms. Blue should be contacted
at (202) 3953475. General information
concerning USTR is available at http://
www.ustr.gov.

Carmen Suro-Bredie,

Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.

[FR Doc. E929841 Filed 121509; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190W0P

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