[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 62 (Monday, April 1, 2013)]
[Pages 19566-19568]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07430]



Request for Comments Concerning Proposed Transatlantic Trade and 
Investment Agreement

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

ACTION: Request for comments and notice of a public hearing.


SUMMARY: On March 20, 2013, the United States Trade Representative 
(USTR) notified Congress of the Administration's intention to enter 
into negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership 
(TTIP) agreement with the European Union (EU) aimed at achieving a 
substantial increase in transatlantic trade and investment. Before 
initiating such negotiations, the Trade Act of 1974 requires that, with 
respect to any proposed trade agreement, any interested persons be 
afforded an opportunity to present his or her view regarding any 
matters related to the proposed trade agreement. Accordingly, USTR is 
seeking public comments on the proposed TTIP, including regarding U.S. 
interests and priorities, in order to develop U.S. negotiating 
positions. Comments may be provided in writing and orally at a public 

DATES: Written comments are due by midnight, May 10, 2013. Persons 
wishing to testify orally at the hearing must provide written 
notification of their intention, as well as a summary of their 
testimony, by midnight, May 10, 2013. The hearing will be held on May 
29 and 30 beginning at 9:30 a.m., at the main hearing room of the 
United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20436.

ADDRESSES: Public comments should be submitted electronically at 
www.regulations.gov. If you are unable to provide submissions at 
www.regulations.gov, please contact Yvonne Jamison, Trade Policy Staff 
Committee (TPSC), at (202) 395-3475, to arrange for an alternative 
method of transmission.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For procedural questions concerning 
written comments, please contact Yvonne Jamison at the above number. 
All other questions regarding the TTIP agreement should be directed to 
David Weiner, Deputy Assistant USTR for Europe, at (202) 395-9679.


1. Background

    The decision to launch negotiations for a TTIP agreement follows a 
year-long exploratory process conducted by the U.S.-EU High Level 
Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG), established by President Obama 
and EU leaders during their November 2011 Summit Meeting, and led by 
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and EU Commissioner for Trade Karel 
De Gucht. USTR provided two opportunities for the public to comment as 
part of the HLWG mandate in 2012; comments received in response to 
these solicitations, and during a large number of advisory committee 
briefings and other meetings with stakeholders, played an important 
role in shaping the HLWG's recommendations. In its February 11, 2013 
Final Report, the HLWG concluded that an agreement that addresses a 
broad range of bilateral trade and investment policies, as well as 
global issues of common interest, could generate substantial economic 
benefits on both sides of the Atlantic. (See http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/reports-and-publications/2013/final-report-us-eu-hlwg).
    USTR is observing the consultative and administrative procedures of 
the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002 (19 U.S.C. 3804) 
with respect to notifying and consulting with Congress regarding the 
TTIP negotiations. These procedures include providing Congress with 90 
days advance written notice of the President's intent to enter into 
negotiations and consulting with appropriate Congressional committees 
regarding the negotiations. To that end, on March 20, 2013, after 
having consulted with relevant Congressional committees, the USTR 
notified Congress that the President intends to enter into negotiations 
of an agreement with the EU, with the objective of concluding a high-
standard agreement that will benefit U.S. workers, manufacturers, 
service suppliers, farmers, ranchers, innovators, creators, small- and 
medium-sized businesses, and consumers.
    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 TTIP 
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 

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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 effect on U.S. industries and consumers of the 
modification of tariffs on imports pursuant to the proposed agreement. 
USTR intends to hold a public hearing on specific issues pertaining to 
the proposed negotiations on May 29 and 30, 2013. In addition, USTR has 
requested that the ITC provide advice to USTR on the probable economic 
effects of an agreement.

2. Public Comments

    Written Comments: The TPSC Chair invites interested parties to 
submit written comments to assist USTR as it works with other U.S. 
government agencies and continues to consult with Congress to develop 
U.S. negotiating objectives and proposals for the proposed TTIP 
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 the 
EU, 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 
    (a) General and product-specific negotiating objectives for the 
proposed 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 EU;
    (c) treatment of specific goods (described by HTSUS numbers) under 
the proposed 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 the proposed agreement;
    (d) adequacy of existing customs measures to ensure that duty rates 
under an agreement with the EU apply only to goods eligible to receive 
such treatment, and appropriate rules of origin for goods entering the 
United States under the proposed agreement;
    (e) existing sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical 
barriers to trade that should be addressed in the negotiations;
    (f) opportunities for greater transatlantic regulatory 
compatibility, including concrete ideas on how greater compatibility 
could be achieved in a particular economic sector, without diminishing 
the ability of the United States to continue to meet legitimate 
regulatory objectives, for example with respect to health, safety and 
the environment, and which sectors should be the focus of such efforts;
    (g) opportunities to reduce unnecessary costs and administrative 
delays stemming from regulatory differences, including how that could 
be achieved in a particular economic sector;
    (h) opportunities to enhance customs cooperation between the United 
States and the EU and its member states, ensure transparent, efficient, 
and predictable conduct of customs operations, and ensure that customs 
measures are not applied in a manner that creates unwarranted 
procedural obstacles to trade;
    (i) existing barriers to trade in services between the United 
States and the EU that should be addressed in the negotiations;
    (j) relevant electronic commerce and cross-border data flow issues 
that should be addressed in the negotiations;
    (k) relevant investment issues that should be addressed in the 
    (l) relevant competition-related matters that should be addressed 
in the negotiations;
    (m) relevant government procurement issues, including coverage of 
any government agencies or state-owned enterprises engaged in 
procurements of interest, that should be addressed in the negotiations;
    (n) relevant environmental issues that should be addressed in the 
    (o) relevant labor issues that should be addressed in the 
    (p) relevant transparency and anticorruption issues that should be 
addressed in the negotiations; and
    (q) relevant trade-related intellectual property rights issues that 
should be raised with the EU.
    In addition to the matters described above, the TPSC invites 
comments on new principles or disciplines addressing emerging 
challenges in international trade that should be pursued in the 
negotiations and that would benefit U.S.-EU trade as well as strengthen 
the multilateral rules-based trading system and support other trade-
related priorities, including, for example, with respect to state-owned 
enterprises, ``localization'' barriers to trade, and other developments 
on which the United States and the EU may share similar concerns.
    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.
    Oral Testimony: A hearing will be held on May 29 and May 30 in the 
Main Hearing Room at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E St. 
SW., Washington, DC 20436. Persons wishing to testify at the hearing 
must provide written notification of their intention by May 10, 2013. 
The intent to testify notification must be made in the ``Type Comment'' 
field under docket number USTR-2013-0019 on the regulations.gov Web 
site and should include the name, address and telephone number of the 
person presenting the testimony. A summary of the testimony must 
accompany the notification. Remarks at the hearing should be limited to 
no more than five minutes to allow for possible questions from the 

3. Requirements for Submissions

    Persons submitting comments must do so in English and must identify 
(on the first page of the submission) the ``Transatlantic Trade and 
Investment Partnership.'' In order to be assured of consideration, 
comments should be submitted by May 10, 2013.
    In order to ensure the timely receipt and consideration of 
comments, USTR strongly encourages commenters to make on-line 
submissions, using the www.regulations.gov Web site. To submit comments 
via www.regulations.gov, enter docket number USTR-2013-0019 on the 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 and click on the link entitled ``Comment Now!'' (For 
further information on using the www.regulations.gov Web site, please 
consult the resources provided on the Web site by clicking on ``How to 
Use This Site'' on the left side of the home page).
    The www.regulations.gov Web site allows users to provide comments 
by filling in a ``Type Comment'' field, or by attaching a document 
using an ``Upload File'' field. USTR prefers that comments be provided 
in an attached document. If a document is attached, it is sufficient to 
type ``See attached'' in the ``Type Comment'' field. USTR prefers 
submissions in Microsoft Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). If the 
submission is in an application other than those

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two, please indicate the name of the application in the ``Type 
Comment'' 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 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.
    As noted, USTR strongly urges submitters to file comments through 
www.regulations.gov, if at all possible. Any alternative arrangements 
must be made with Ms. Jamison in advance of transmitting a comment. Ms. 
Jamison should be contacted at (202) 395-3475. General information 
concerning USTR is available at www.ustr.gov.

4. Public Inspection of Submissions

    Comments will be placed in the docket and open to public 
inspection, except business confidential information. Comments may be 
viewed on the http:www.regulations.gov Web site by entering the 
relevant docket number in the search field on the home page.

Douglas Bell,
Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. 2013-07430 Filed 3-29-13; 8:45 am]