Sunday, May 31, 2015
Who Knows Why We Connect with Strangers, but Sometimes We Do ~ Today My Thoughts & Prayers are with Those Who Love Beau Biden...
What you will find on Beau Biden's website today ...
Statement by Vice President Biden:
It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life. The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.
Beau's life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.
More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.
In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.
Like many of you, perhaps, I have wondered what is that IT factor? The one that connects us to people we only read about and/or see on a screen. I do not know the answer and I probably never will but I do know I am not the only one who has connected to Vice President Biden over the years and today I mourn for his and his family's tragic loss of his Beau.
Please, if you feel move to do so, go to the statement by the President where you can read the Vice President's statement, the President's statement and where you will find a link to share your thoughts with the Vice President and his family. It matters.
A tragic loss for all who love him and for those of us who looked forward to the contributions he was preparing to bring to The People re who he was -- An American hero:
G., aka Partisan Democrat
( Please follow me at http://gkmtnblogs.blogspot.com/ )
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Dear @SenateDems & @HouseDemocrats : Where is Your Respect For Public Servants Serving You in The Office of the United States Trade Representative ???
In recent months, specifically around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), I have been appalled to find much of the Democratic representation in Congress to be of no service to constituents per displays of ignorance (willful or not) that are ranted and raved via main stream and/or social media in manners that, to my mind, have disrespected the dignity of the Halls of the Senate and of the House of Representatives and have insulted the public servants who populate those Halls in the course of the work of serving The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
I am no stranger to advocacy, private and/or public but, typically, I prefer to keep my criticisms of Democrats, who have stepped up and run for public office and won, private but that has, surprisingly to me and unusual, as well, really, gotten me little to no substantial response from the Democrats who represent me on the Hill and that has also not been practiced many influential Democrats with access to media outlets.
So, here I am…
publicly asking: Where is your respect for those who serve you, serve us all, actually?
(You should feel free to comment in the comments section as I'm sure there are others who would love to know that answer to that, too!)
I have been seriously disappointed by what appears to be last minute Democratic obstruction by talking points of the President’s efforts to move us from a “might is right” foreign policy to a “let’s let diplomacy work,” foreign policy juxtaposed with building strong economies with willing partners based on The Common Good on a global level with trade policies being a primary tool of attainment by some;
I have been alarmingly troubled by what appears to be a Utopian call for a direct democracy, which is not our current form of government, by some and;
I have been profoundly disturbed by what appears to be a total disregard for our public servants from the President to the appointments and the staff at USTR who have been charged by Democrats with working to screw the American worker by some.
Compounding all of that, I find myself questioning the motives of representatives in my own Party when all I hear are primarily fanatical calls to stop progress on a many levels with no mention of the Obama Doctrine, with no mention of the goals and the accomplishments of the people in one of the agencies implementing said Doctrine, with no mention of what they, as members of Congress, have done to help them succeed and/or with no mention of the truth of the process and with few, if any, evidence based facts.
I am not going to rant and rave and I am not going to challenge point by point but I am going ask if you’ve read the Office of the United States Trade Representative Fiscal Year 2015 Budget? Are you aware of the scope of their work? Are you aware of your role in their work? Are you aware that lack of funding impacts outcomes – negatively? Are you aware that you're constituency expects you to be aware on their behalf?
If you’ve not read it, you can find the document linked here and just to be on the safe side, for those who might not click through, I am going to copy and paste two sections of below that I hope will encourage you to click and read the document in its entirety.
It is not an easy document for a participating citizen to digest but I’m sure you’ll manage – I did. Hell, I even managed to read the Affordable Care Act legislation!
And, perhaps it will prompt you to rethink your selves and maybe even consider an apology to the public servants you have relegated to such things soundbites and memes and fundraising e-mails to win whatever it is you really want to win here because it is not so clear to me...
*** FISCAL YEAR 2015 GOALS AND MEASUREMENTS (P. 37-50)
USTR’s 2015 Annual Performance Goals and Measurements support the overarching Strategic Goals and Objectives drawn from its Strategic Plan.
Goal 1: Create and Sustain Better U.S. Jobs by Opening Foreign Markets
Consistent with the President's trade policy agenda and with the primary goal of supporting and sustaining well-paying American jobs, USTR will seek to support the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) by opening export markets around the world and reducing trade and investment barriers and distortions by negotiating, concluding and implementing multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements, as well as by effectively representing U.S. interests in international bodies, including those established under such agreements.
• Negotiate and implement agreements that create and sustain well-paying American jobs, advance the overall trade and economic interests of the United States, and further the intent and objectives of U.S. trade law.
• Integrate developing economies, economies in transition, and emerging economies into the global rules-based trading system, encouraging key emerging economies to take trade and investment actions consistent with their growing roles in the global economy, while helping other economies build their capacity to realize the full benefits of trade liberalization and protect the environment and worker rights.
• Effectively represent U.S. interests in international bodies that have been established under multilateral and other international agreements to achieve the Administration’s international trade policy goals.
• Build on the results of the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia by finding additional opportunities to revitalize the trade negotiation dimension of the World Trade Organization (WTO), including, where possible, through reaching agreement on trade-liberalizing elements of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) such as agricultural and industrial market access, and other potential initiatives, such as a plurilateral negotiation on environmental goods.
• Work with WTO Members to achieve entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in 2015.
• Conclude agreement to expand the list of products subject to duty elimination under the Information Technology Agreement (ITA).
• Advance negotiations under the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) to open foreign markets, create new opportunities for U.S. exporters, and encourage the adoption of policies that promote fair and open competition in international markets for services
• Advance negotiations with the world’s largest traders of environmental goods to eliminate tariffs on these products through a new WTO plurilateral agreement.
• Negotiate and implement mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) with select countries to facilitate U.S. exports of telecommunications equipment.
• Pursue negotiations to expand the list of pharmaceutical products subject to duty elimination under the WTO Pharmaceutical Agreement.
• Provide policy guidance and support for the ongoing committee work at the WTO and other international organizations to effectively represent U.S. interests.
• Conclude WTO accession agreements with candidates, including developing countries and least developed countries that undertake trade commitments that meet Administration priorities and are supported by the Congress.
• Accelerate China’s accession negotiations in the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) to support rebalancing of the U.S.-China trade relationship by expanding U.S. sales into China’s large government procurement market.
• In cooperation with other relevant agencies, as appropriate, work to ensure that the WTO’s work on Aid for Trade and other activities for assisting developing countries is aimed at mainstreaming trade into the development plans of these countries and supports their effective participation in the trading system while not exceeding the institutional mandate of the WTO as a trade organization.
• Work with existing free trade agreement (FTA) partners, including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, and Singapore, to ensure that agreements are fully and properly implemented, and address non-compliance issues that are identified.
• Conclude the TPP negotiations, with a high-standard, comprehensive outcome that provides new export opportunities for U.S. agriculture and industry, promotes U.S. services and investment objectives, protects worker rights, and enhances environmental protection in participating countries; work with Congress to obtain approval of the TPP Agreement; and begin the process for entry into force of the Agreement.
• Complete TPP intellectual property chapter and medical device and pharmaceuticals annex negotiations consistently with U.S. goals for timing and substance.
• Launch bilateral engagements with TPP candidate countries, in both Asia and the Western Hemisphere, to ascertain their interest and willingness to join a high-standard trade agreement, thereby expanding the agreement beyond the initial countries, further increasing benefits to the United States and fostering regional integration.
• Achieve through the APEC forum concrete and meaningful outcomes to address key trade and investment barriers in the Asia-Pacific region.
• Through APEC promote adoption of international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards as well as science-based regulatory systems for agricultural biotechnology and address common challenges.
• Under the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative and our Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement with ASEAN, seek agreements and policy reforms that expand U.S. trade and investment with this critical region, build momentum in our engagement with ASEAN countries, and lay the groundwork for ASEAN countries to join high-standard trade agreements such as the TPP Agreement.
• Further strengthen U.S.-Japan trade initiatives and engagement and resolve barriers to U.S. exports.
• Successfully conduct negotiations with the EU on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) agreement – a comprehensive trade and investment agreement that will open markets for U.S. goods and services and promote significantly greater regulatory compatibility, protect worker rights, and advance environmental goals.
• In the course of negotiations on the T-TIP, and in parallel with those negotiations, engage in negotiations to resolve specific agricultural bilateral trade concerns and develop and implement with the EU joint approaches for addressing trade-related concerns of common interest in the global trading system.
• Develop a strategy to foster fair trade in the North America lumber market prior to the expiration of the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement.
• Further strengthen U.S.-China engagement on key trade and investment issues and barriers to U.S. exports, working to achieve concrete and meaningful outcomes through all appropriate fora, including through the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
• Monitor and ensure China’s full compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding addressing the importation and distribution of films for theatrical release in China.
• Work to promote removal of major services sector and investment barriers in China, particularly in financial services, including insurance services, express delivery services, legal services; and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services, including value-added telecommunications services and services supplied over the Internet.
• Advance the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) through the negotiation and implementation of relevant trade agreements.
• Negotiate new agreements that meet the Administration’s intellectual property and innovation (IPN) trade policy objectives.
• Advance discussions on IP negotiations in T-TIP consistent with U.S. interests.
• Develop and execute a strategic and coordinated approach to address the growing market access challenges posed to U.S. trade and investment interests by localization barriers to trade.
• Strive to successfully conclude BIT negotiations with China, India, and Mauritius; make substantial progress in exploratory BIT discussions with Cambodia, Gabon, Ghana and a regional investment agreement among the East African countries; and launch new BIT negotiations with appropriate partners consistent with Administration criteria.
• Make substantial progress in bilateral services negotiations in connection with Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Bosnia on accession to the WTO.
• Make substantial progress in securing endorsement of US-EU Investment and ICT principles by Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria.
• Conclude or significantly advance negotiations toward an agreement with the government of Egypt to establish customs cooperation, information-sharing and penalty provisions related to enforcement of preference claims for textile and apparel goods originating in the QIZs.
• Continue to implement United States-Mongolia Transparency Agreement.
• Initiate negotiations and conclude agreements, including bilateral trade facilitation agreements, to reduce or eliminate specific trade or investment barriers and distortions to goods and services, including cross-border data flows.
• Continue to develop cutting edge trade provisions to advance the Digital Services agenda in TPP, the International Services Agreement, US-EU T-TIP, MENA TIP, and among ASEAN countries.
• Secure expanded access for U.S. food and agricultural exports to key markets through resolution of unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary barriers.
• Advance negotiations on a new Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products with Israel, which provides for significantly expanded access for U.S. food and agricultural exports.
• Negotiate equivalency agreements with countries that are key markets for U.S. organic exports, promoting increased exports of U.S. organic food and agriculture products.
• Continue to engage in plurilateral discussions on aligning regulatory approaches affecting trade in products derived from modern biotechnology to facilitate trade.
• Continue to promote job-supporting, two-way trade and investment with Brazil through the U.S.-Brazil Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ATEC) and its subsidiary bodies, including an Investment Dialogue and a Working Group on IPR and Innovation.
• In partnership with other agencies, such as the Small Business Administration, encourage SMEs to expand trade through new and existing trade policy initiatives.
• Provide policy guidance and support for multilateral trade negotiations or in other contexts on market access commitments affecting the textile and apparel sector worldwide, to provide new export opportunities for U.S. industry.
• Continue to engage key trade partners and stakeholders on ways to improve worker rights and working conditions in our inter-connected global economy.
• Improve worker rights and the enforcement of labor laws by U.S. trade partners by negotiating strong labor provisions in the TPP and other relevant trade agreements and building the capacity of our trading partners to fully implement those commitments.
• In cooperation with other relevant agencies, design and implement environmental cooperation mechanisms with FTA partners to enhance implementation of FTA environment commitments, and negotiate and conclude trade-related environmental agreements that increase the capacity of developing countries to protect the environment.
• Work towards implementation of APEC commitments to reduce applied tariffs to no more than five percent on APEC-agreed list of 54 environmental goods.
• Continue work in APEC to address non-tariff barriers that distort trade and investment in environmental goods and services.
• Negotiate trade disciplines in FTAs to support environmental conservation objectives, including with respect to ocean, wildlife, and forestry issues.
• Continue to negotiate disciplines on fisheries subsidies in FTAs, and build on results of such negotiations to further advance regional and multilateral action in this area, including in APEC and the WTO.
• Continue work in the APEC Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade to identify cooperative actions and activities to combat illegal forest products trade that can help support our TPP proposals and commitments in this area.
• Continue to engage with China and Indonesia under our bilateral MOUs on combating illegal logging and associated trade.
• Partner with State, EPA, and other agencies to support multilateral work on trade and climate change in the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment, and to ensure outcomes under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other multilateral environmental agreements are consistent with U.S. trade policy.
• Participate in implementation of the national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking and to stem illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products pursuant to the July 1, 2013 Presidential Executive Order on “Combating Wildlife Trafficking”.
• Engage trading partners on trade in used electronics, including through the electronics stewardship initiative in APEC.
• Launch, negotiate, conclude, or put into effect TIFAs with strategically important areas, such as South Asia, and other appropriate countries that expand opportunities for U.S. exports.
• Intensify engagement with Indonesia through the United States-Indonesia TIFA to support the development in Indonesia of trade policies consistent with the requirements of the multilateral trading system and address the growing number of trade and investment irritants.
• Launch bilateral initiatives to expand trade and investment, encourage reform, and promote inclusive economic growth in Burma following agreement on a TIFA in 2013.
• Pursue negotiations and other efforts to implement the Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), to include agreements or other arrangements covering investment, information and communication technology, trade facilitation, agriculture, services and other areas, and trade capacity building to enable effective implementation of this initiative.
• Utilize the U.S.-Turkey Strategic Framework and newly-established High Level Committee to promote U.S.-Turkey trade and investment and to support trade and investment integration in the MENA region.
• Host a leadership summit in 2014 with African heads of state that promotes the U.S. trade agenda, including promotion of U.S. exports and investment, supports regional economic integration and Africa’s goals for a continent wide free trade area, and encourages trade and economic reforms that promote African growth and development.
• Advance President Obama’s Trade Africa initiative, including an exploration of an investment treaty, cooperation on trade facilitation, SPS and TBT, a U.S.-EAC commercial dialogue, creation of a new Trade and Investment Center in East Africa, and a partnership with other donors to support regional economic integration in East Africa.
• Conduct a comprehensive review of the AGOA which expires in 2015 to ensure that any future AGOA program works effectively to benefit both sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. Use the results of this review to inform consultations with Congress on renewal options for the AGOA program.
• Working closely with other USTR offices and the interagency, look for opportunities to increase U.S. market access in important sub-Saharan markets, particularly as the EU and other developed partners work to gain reciprocal market access to African markets for their products.
• Complete negotiations of a U.S.-ECOWAS Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
• Implement an outreach program to promote trade and investment opportunities in support of the PPD on sub-Saharan Africa and the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign, including working with industry associations and business groups and participating in private sector roundtables and conferences.
• Work with U.S. Government agencies that provide or fund trade capacity building assistance to ensure that their assistance programs assist developing countries to integrate more fully into the global trading system and, in cooperation with other relevant agencies, work with other donor countries and international institutions to make the most coherent and effective use of scarce resources.
• Work with Congress to consider possible reforms or revisions to the GSP program to take into account evolving global trade relations, including the growing competitiveness of many emerging market GSP beneficiaries.
• Provide timely advice and analysis to support active USTR participation in OPIC Committee.
• Advance U.S. interests in the development and adoption of standards in the Codex Alimentarius Commission that facilitate trade in U.S. food and agricultural products.
• Work to ensure that other institutions that may engage on issues related to trade (WIPO, WFP, UNCTAD, OECD, WHO, OAS, and IDB) promote U.S. policies and objectives.
• Work with the World Bank, IMF, OECD, and other international institutions to further Aid for Trade initiatives and promote U.S. trade objectives in the WTO.
Goal 2: Create and Sustain Better U.S. Jobs by Monitoring and Enforcing U.S. Rights
Consistent with the President's trade policy agenda, and with a primary goal of creating and sustaining well-paying American jobs, USTR will closely monitor and vigorously enforce U.S. rights under trade agreements to maximize their benefits for American workers, farmers, ranchers, producers, innovators, service providers, and investors, and address foreign trade and investment barriers, including through U.S. trade laws that USTR administers.
• Effectively utilize USTR and other U.S. government resources to monitor unfair foreign trade barriers and practices, as well as compliance by trading partners with U.S. trade agreements.
• Vigorously deploy all available tools to enforce U.S. rights under trade agreements, to ensure that these agreements meet their potential to create and sustain well-paying American jobs.
• Engage stakeholders to collaborate with USTR on enforcement issues.
• Administer, monitor and enforce our trading partners’ implementation of their obligations under the WTO Agreement and other trade and investment agreements, including implementing and enforcing high labor and environment standards and protecting IPRs in foreign markets.
• Identify new disputes to be pursued under WTO and/or FTA dispute settlement procedures or under U.S. trade statutes, including barriers to U.S. exports due to lack of transparency, use of border measures, localization measures discriminating against imported goods, and lack of science-based rule-making processes.
• Vigorously pursue existing trade disputes to ensure timely resolution. Through prudent management of personnel and disputes, utilize existing USTR resources effectively to maximize the likelihood of positive outcomes vindicating U.S. rights.
• Where positive outcomes have been achieved in offensive disputes, closely monitor trading partners’ actions to ensure full implementation. Where the United States is found not to have complied with trade obligations, work to achieve implementation and avoid possible countermeasures on U.S. exports, consistent with U.S. and Administration objectives.
• Employ WTO and other trade agreement committees, bilateral engagement, and dispute settlement as appropriate to resolve identified breaches of U.S. trade agreements.
• Use WTO bodies to help ensure other members’ compliance with obligations by pressing for timely compliance with notification requirements in the agreements to identify possible problems and by using meetings of these bodies to raise questions about the practices of Members and create pressure to comply.
• Review implementation of WTO, regional and bilateral trade agreements, particularly through the preparation of the Annual Report of the President on the Trade Agreements Program, the National Trade Estimate Report, and the reports on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and identify strategies for resolving implementation problems.
• Solicit public comment on WTO dispute settlement proceedings to ensure that USTR officials can develop U.S. positions and arguments based on all relevant available information.
• Provide public access to U.S. submissions to WTO adjudicatory bodies so that stakeholders and interested members of the public may provide relevant input.
• Conduct comprehensive annual Section 1377 review of telecom barriers promoting progress in removal of major foreign barriers impeding market access of U.S. telecommunications goods and services suppliers. Maintain effort to promote elimination of internet blocking.
• Consult regularly with other agencies, stakeholders, Congress and foreign officials to obtain information on new barriers to trade with bilateral and regional partners.
• Analyze and respond appropriately to petitions filed for action against perceived unfair trade barriers.
• Work to ensure that each of our FTAs continue to have the necessary rosters for panelists to participate in consultation and dispute settlement procedures under the relevant agreement.
• Conduct meaningful reviews of FTA implementation in connection with the Joint Committee or Joint Commission meetings under each FTA.
• Monitor implementation of each of our FTAs to ensure full compliance with all FTA and related commitments.
• Continue to work with industry, Congress and Customs and Border Protection to address industry concerns about the effectiveness of Customs enforcement of our trade agreements, in order to insure the integrity of agreement commitments.
• Continue to build a strong ITEC organization to carry out the directives of the Executive Order, including obtaining additional staff with varied and appropriate expertise in a variety of trade disciplines and with appropriate language skills.
• Refine procedures to coordinate even more closely, efficiently, and effectively ITEC with other offices within USTR. Continue to find ways to supplement and complement, without duplicating, the work of other USTR offices.
• Expand interagency contacts and coordination, identify and locate appropriate interagency expertise for ITEC regarding various matters of interest, and create and integrate staffing mechanisms to simplify sharing of interagency expertise.
• Identify issues for priority research and evaluation regarding potential disputes and in support of negotiations, and systematize processes for sharing the results of those efforts with appropriate interagency personnel.
• Identify priority issues for research and monitoring where negotiation or dispute settlement is not contemplated in the very short term.
• Consider and address enforcement concerns that affect small and medium sized enterprises.
• Use all appropriate tools to deliver the full benefit of IPR provisions of existing FTAs and other trade agreements to stakeholders. Priorities include the agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama (including obligations with transition periods) as well as progress on outstanding implementation issues under other FTAs and issue-specific agreements (China/films, etc.).
• Further strengthen U.S.-China engagement on key trade and investment issues and barriers to U.S. exports, working to achieve concrete and meaningful outcomes through all appropriate fora, including through the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade.
• Complete the annual Report to Congress on China's WTO Compliance.
• Seek meaningful progress with China on IPR and innovation issues, and related market access concerns, in line with Administration objectives.
• Continue to research, as a priority matter, China’s support for the textile and apparel industries, with a view to assessing China’s compliance with its WTO obligations, including with assistance and input from industry.
• Continuing to monitor and research policy support measures for the textile sector, in particular by other large textile producing and exporting countries, to insure compliance with WTO or other international agreements, with a view to resolving potential conflicts.
• Develop and implement new, and use existing, mechanisms to monitor Russia’s compliance with its WTO obligations and take action as necessary to ensure U.S. exports are treated consistently with WTO obligations.
• Continue to work with Brazil to find a mutually agreeable solution to the WTO dispute on Cotton.
• Continue vigorous U.S. participation in the WTO TRIMs Committee as well as bilateral efforts to promote elimination of local content measures in Nigeria, Indonesia, Brazil, China, and India.
• Continue to make regular use of bilateral and multilateral fora, including WTO committees and, where appropriate, dispute settlement, to remove India’s localization barriers to trade especially in the clean energy, healthcare and ICT sectors.
• Press for implementation of the government of India’s plan to gradually eliminate export subsidies in India’s textiles sector by 2014 as required by the WTO SCM Agreement.
• Ensure greater market access for U.S. companies in South and Central Asia, focus on the elimination of localization requirements and ensure compliance with WTO obligations for Members and countries in the accession process.
• Use FTA mechanisms to ensure compliance with FTA and WTO obligations in the MENA region.
• Coordinate with other U.S. agencies, particularly the Departments of Labor and State, to prioritize opportunities to engage with countries such as China, Brazil, India and countries in the Middle East
bilaterally and through multilateral fora to improve respect for worker rights, including by advancing efforts to reform labor laws, improve labor institutional capacity, and to monitor working conditions.
• Work closely with our inter-agency partners, including the Departments of State and Labor, to prioritize, monitor, and engage our trade partners to meet worker rights criteria of our trade preference programs. In particular, actively work with Jordan and Colombia on the continued implementation of their Labor Action Plans, with Guatemala to implement the Labor Enforcement Plan in the context of the dispute settlement case, and with Bahrain, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico and others on current labor submissions under the trade agreements, and continue our worker rights reviews under GSP and AGOA with the Philippines, Swaziland, Niger and others. Continue to work with Bangladesh on implementation of the GSP Action Plan, which USTR provided to the government of Bangladesh. In each of these cases, our goal is to assist countries to resolve the labor matters raised so that workers are able to exercise their rights and working conditions are improved.
• Engage key trade partners and stakeholders on ways to improve worker rights and working conditions in our inter-connected global economy in order to ensure a level playing field for U.S. workers and that the benefits of trade are widely shared.
• Lead a robust interagency process for monitoring implementation of FTA environment obligations across all FTA partners, including by implementation of the interagency-agreed monitoring and enforcement plan.
• Convene environmental affairs councils and related fora under FTAs to engage with FTA partners at senior levels on specific implementation issues.
• Continue to work closely with the Government of Peru to ensure the implementing regulations of its new Forestry and Wildlife Law are promulgated and continue to support implementation of the Peru FTA Forest Annex.
• Continue to work closely with the Government of Peru and the Interagency Committee on Trade in Timber Products from Peru to implement the January 2013 bilateral Action Plan, and to monitor other developments relevant to implementation of Peru’s obligations under the Peru FTA Environment Chapter and Forest Annex.
• Utilize high-level bilateral discussions, including through strategic dialogues and at TIFA Council meetings, to address trade barriers identified with various bilateral and regional partners.
• Use all appropriate tools to press for wins on bilateral IPR issues wherever possible. Major countries of concern include, in addition to China, all countries on Special 301 Priority Watch List and those with major pending IP legislation or regulations such as Brazil.
• Issue a timely, high-quality report to Congress, backed by year-round engagement with trading partners, on adequacy and effectiveness of IPR protection and enforcement. Continue improvements to the Special 301 process (e.g., hearings, notorious markets out-of-cycle review (OCR)). Use the “notorious markets” OCR to encourage reform by non-state actors.
• Apply U.S. trade preference programs in a manner that contributes to economic development in beneficiary countries while addressing issues such as progress on worker rights and enforcement of intellectual property rights through annual reviews of GSP product and country practice petitions, and the annual AGOA country eligibility review process.
• Continue USTR leadership role in CFIUS Committee in ensuring CFIUS decisions are consistent with the United States’ open investment policy.
• Continue to provide significant research, analysis and support to OGC, regional offices, and State Department regarding NAFTA Chapter 11, FTA disputes and BIT investor state arbitrations.
• Maintain a significant role in the interagency process in raising concerns regarding potential adverse impacts of proposed cybersecurity-related legislation and policy on U.S. trade and investment interests.
Goal 3: Develop Strategic and Transparent Policy
Consistent with the President's trade policy agenda, USTR will consult with the Congress, communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, including state and local government officials, and lead interagency trade and investment policy coordination to obtain broad-ranging input, provide accountability, and develop sound, strategic U.S. trade policies.
• Expand and broaden the existing coalition with Congress, interested stakeholders, state and local governments, and the public to inform and strengthen the U.S. trade agenda, develop Administration trade policies and initiatives, advance key trade legislation, including Congressional approval of Trade Promotion Authority.
• Foster a robust advisory committee system by appointing, consulting and engaging with an active group of advisors.
• Educate the public on the Advisory Committee system and their role within trade policy.
• Employ constructive, consensus-building interagency coordination in the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) and the Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG).
• Work with the Congress on legislative initiatives, including providing advice on trade aspects of proposed legislation, to help ensure consistency with U.S. international obligations, implement our trade agreements, and advance U.S. policies as they are developed.
• Work with U.S. development agencies and other government agencies so that appropriate assistance programs are in place to support trade agreements and key trade legislation.
• Consult broadly and intensively with Congressional committees of jurisdiction and Congressional Advisors on pending trade policy issues and initiatives. Keep committees abreast of key issues, opportunities, and constraints in trade negotiations. Keep committees updated on the positions of our negotiating partners.
• Consult regularly with Congress and stakeholders on developments regarding the TPP agreement, including potential new participants in the agreement.
• Consult with Congress and other stakeholders on new ways to expand trade and investment with the European Union, including addressing issues of common concern in third countries.
• Report on the results of monitoring Russia’s compliance with international trade obligations.
• Consult with Congress and other stakeholders to develop and implement new initiatives for trade and investment integration with and within the MENA region.
• Hold conferences with U.S. and Indian States and Central/Federal governments regarding U.S.-South and Central Asia trade and investment issues.
• Maintain close collaboration with Congressional trade committees, the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC), and other stakeholders in developing U.S. negotiating positions on trade and environment matters, including in the T-TIP negotiations, APEC and WTO initiatives, and relevant UN processes.
• Consult with TEPAC and other stakeholders on issues related to the implementation of environmental obligations in existing FTAs, as well as in implementation of the TPP agreement.
• Ensure that meetings of environmental affairs councils and related fora under FTAs include sessions open to the public, and provide for public input for the agendas of these public sessions.
• Consult broadly with Congress and other stakeholders to develop a U.S.-sub-Saharan Africa trade partnership beyond AGOA preferences, including exploring possible new models for agreements with African regional economic communities (RECs) or with the proposed Continental Free Trade Area of Africa. In that context, work with Congress to amend and ultimately extend AGOA to enhance the U.S.-Africa economic relationship and support Africa’s development in line with the Presidential Directive on Development.
• Build support for trade agreements through existing pro-trade congressional coalitions and caucuses.
• Advise agencies and Congress on trade policy implications of relevant domestic or international cases, laws, and policies.
• Continue to consult regularly with interested stakeholders on trade negotiations, trade agreement implementation, and other issues.
• Monitor and participate in international negotiations led by other agencies on any topics (e.g., biodiversity, traditional knowledge, climate change, and pharmaceuticals/health) where proposed inclusion of IP language implicates trade policy.
• Monitor international negotiations led by other agencies where services and investment issues may arise.
• Convene regular advisory committee meetings and briefings as needed in coordination with other relevant agencies.
• Ensure timely re-chartering of committees and appointment of members and ensure that committees meet statutory reporting requirements.
• Ensure that the advisory committee system meets the needs of the 21st century economy and the U.S. national economic interest, by seeking advisory input on an ongoing basis as issues arise and posting documents for comment to the Secured Advisory Committee Website.
• Engage the committees to assist in supporting the trade agenda and provide them with regular informative updates on USTR issues and activities.
• Expand the membership and strengthen the effectiveness of the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA) to provide relevant advice on enhancing the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship.
• Effectively utilize the NSC Deputies and sub-Deputies process to ensure USTR leadership on key Administration trade policy goals and initiatives.
• Seek to resolve inter-agency trade policy issues at the TPSC level whenever possible, and in a timely manner, reserving only complex or sensitive decisions for resolution in the TPRG (deputy head of agency level).
• Contribute to informed policy making by means of a thorough and up-to-date understanding of the positions of other countries/entities based on direct contacts, input from U.S. diplomatic posts, and other sources.
• Ensure that the Annual Report of the President on the Trade Agreements Program, National Trade Estimates Report, including the TBT and SPS Reports, reports on telecommunications issues, special 301, and other reports required by statute are developed in a transparent manner, with opportunity for input from the public at large as well as stakeholders and Members of Congress, and accurately reflect the issues that are raised.
• Strategically select cities and organizations for trade speeches to demonstrate the importance of trade to the local economy.
• Conduct further outreach to U.S. states planning official visits and trade missions to India.
• Work closely with the Africa office to find ways to further promote use of AGOA. Continue our work with the South and Central Asia to examine the options for programs to help create opportunities for textile and apparel production within conflict areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
• Further promote Haiti/Hope/Help by working to arrange a high-profile USTR trip to Haiti to focus attention on the opportunities provided by those programs, including opportunities for U.S. exports. Take the lead in providing policy advice and assistance in support of any Congressional initiatives to reform or reexamine preference programs which have an impact on the textile and apparel sector.
• In collaboration with the ILO, work with of Jordan to improve working conditions in apparel factories in the QIZs.
Goal 4: Effectively Communicate Trade’s Benefits
To ensure the advancement of the President’s trade policy agenda, USTR will communicate the benefits of international trade and international investment to domestic and foreign audiences, thereby building public understanding of trade’s positive impact on economic growth, and support for additional jobs, and for opening markets around the world to trade and foreign investment.
• Create and implement a USTR-wide, proactive communications strategy to explain the job-creating, economy-enhancing benefits of trade to domestic constituencies and stakeholders.
• Enhance outreach to state and local governments on the benefits of trade, particularly those benefits that flow from FTAs and membership in the WTO.
• Work with the White House and with agency partners to implement an Administration-wide message on the benefits of international trade.
• Communicate, in consultation with other agencies, the Congress and interested stakeholders, the Administration’s unified message to foreign countries and their citizens explaining the benefits of trade with the United States, in order to build support for U.S. trade policies and initiatives.
• Inform stakeholders, state and local leaders of USTR’s efforts to monitor unfair foreign trade barriers and practices, as well as compliance by trading partners with U.S. trade agreements.
• Communicate success to various stakeholders, including state and local elected officials.
• Work with other trade agencies, Congressional trade committees, and interested stakeholders to communicate the benefits of free trade and other agreements to the Congress, interested stakeholders, state and local governments, and the public.
• Work with the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees to develop a strategy focusing on communicating the benefits of trade.
• Anticipate the need for and prepare press statements and press events to counter attacks on a liberalized trade policy.
• Survey external research to gauge baseline of current public perceptions of trade and adjust USTR’s messaging strategy and develop trade education materials.
• Organize press events around high profile trade liberalization achievements.
• Develop talking points, fact sheets, press releases, electronic newsletters and internet strategy to explain the advantages of trade.
• Build network of private and non-governmental organizations and coordinate messaging on the benefits of trade.
• Establish a stronger state-level network of interested stakeholders and work with this network to offer opportunities for information exchange and trade education through USTR participation in conferences and external speaking engagements.
• Develop and distribute educational materials based on available state and local trade export data to interested stakeholders, state representatives and local networks, and seek improved state-level data.
• Coordinate press statements with interested agencies and the White House in order to present coherent and mutually reinforcing trade information to the public.
• Create an informal trade communications working group that meets periodically to examine trade messaging and opportunities for interagency and White House coordination.
• Build relationships with foreign media and place press statements and attend press events that build support for free and fair trade in key foreign countries.
• Identify foreign constituencies that may be receptive to information regarding the benefits, including environmental and social benefits, of free and fair trade.
• Work with USTR’s public affairs counterparts in foreign governments to coordinate a communications strategy to advance trade negotiations and to explain trade disputes.
• Continue to conduct outreach to the public and to expand interagency coordination of enforcement efforts.
• Through cooperation with agencies at the U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs), other key agencies and stakeholders, work to advance the goals of the NEI to increase U.S. exports, including through efforts to educate U.S. businesses – especially SMEs – about global trade opportunities.
• Identify ways to engage SMEs regarding trade, including through law-related groups.
• Ensure full integration of services and investment trade policy goals into USTR’s strategy for communicating trade benefits.
• Plan and organize press events hosted by USTR officials and Members of Congress during trade negotiations in Washington as well as at other negotiating sites in the United States and abroad.
• Continue to make the case in speeches and other public events that our trade agreements and initiatives can and should be part of the solution to urgent international trade-related environmental challenges, including through our innovative TPP and T-TIP environment outcomes and proposals and other U.S. initiatives.
• Present and discuss evolving U.S. trade and investment policies in the EU, and the MENA region in business conferences and widely attended meetings of key private sector stakeholder organizations and relevant embassies.
• Prepare senior USTR official for public presentation and press interviews on U.S.-India trade and investment issues during trip to India.
• Continue outreach efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to explain U.S. preference programs and encourage better utilization.
• Encourage greater coordination and collaboration on trade and investment decision-making in Central and South Asia.
• Following up on our participation with OTEXA in the America’s Sourcing Pavilion at the August MAGIC apparel show, we plan to implement a newly enhanced outreach program to SMEs in order to promote export and production opportunities in CAFTA-DR, NAFTA, Peru and Colombia for the textile and yarn industries.
• Closely collaborate with industry and other offices and Departments to monitor trade actions taken by partner countries on textiles and apparel to ensure that such actions are taken consistent with trade agreement obligations and do not impede U.S. export opportunities.
• Continue to work with industry to promote export and other opportunities under our free trade agreements, including through Magic, American Apparel and Footwear Association, U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, TPP Apparel Coalition, Outdoor Industries Association, Southern Textile Association, National Council of Textile Organizations, American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, California Fashion Association, Los Angeles textile Show, Los Angeles Apparel Mart, Texworld, Primesource, and other associations and events.
• Continue outreach to AGOA Coalition and other key stakeholders, and as part of the Administration’s newly launched Doing Business in Africa campaign (an outgrowth of the PPD), broaden our outreach to the private sector (especially SMEs), diaspora organizations and businesses, and others to ensure that they are well informed about the elements of the PPD, its implications for U.S. trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa, and the growing opportunities for mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa ventures.
• We will also use domestic and foreign travel by our senior leadership to further highlight the goals of the PPD to our African partners and advance PPD-related initiatives such as the Trade Africa and the U.S.-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership.
• Continue to update and implement USTR’s Open Government Plan.
• Respond appropriately and timely to all statutory requests, such as Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries and Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigations/reports.
Goal 5: Achieve Organizational Excellence
Consistent with the President’s goals for his entire Administration, USTR will provide the administrative processes and infrastructure that will strengthen USTR's ability to perform its core functions at the highest level of excellence, with the most qualified individuals possible, establishing a workplace that promotes diversity, initiative, creativity and productivity through the enhancement of human capital through recruitment, promotion and retention initiatives, and professional development and training opportunities.
• Implement a security program that provides a high-degree of protection for USTR personnel, facilities and sensitive information.
• Manage resources to maximize USTR future capabilities.
• Manage USTR more efficiently and effectively.
• Provide facilities that help USTR staff become more productive.
• Install information technology and communications systems that increase USTR’s productivity.
• Implement a human capital management program designed to help USTR accomplish its mission.
• Implement a comprehensive information security program that meets E.O. 13526 and ISOO Directive One.
• Implement a physical security program that meets HSPD-12.
• Develop procedures to protect USTR personnel in high threat situations and environments and provide appropriate level of protection for the USTR office complex.
*** ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013 (P. 51-73)
(Just kidding, I'm not going to give you the whole section ... just the introduction paragraphs, you can go to the document for the rest of it. Just don't miss the point, okay, there's way too much work here being done by way too many people for it to be just some one's talking point!)
This section represents the Annual Performance Report for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). It has been developed to carry out USTR’s obligations under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and to help the agency measure its performance for FY 2013. This report is produced with input from the Assistant U.S. Trade Representatives and other senior agency officials. Non-Federal entities did not provide input into this report.
Further information on all accomplishments will be available in the 2014 Trade Policy Agenda and the 2013 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program that will be published in March 2014 and available at http://www.ustr.gov. The Mission Statement and Strategic Goals were published in the Strategic Plan issued in 2013. The FY 2013 – FY 2017 Strategic Plan is developed in accordance with revisions made by Congress to the GPRA by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 and is available at http://www.ustr.gov.
II. Mission Statement
USTR seeks to contribute to U.S. economic growth, competitiveness and prosperity by opening markets and reducing trade and investment barriers around the world to create new commercial opportunities for U.S goods and services industries, workers, ranchers, and farmers.
III. Summary of Strategic Goals
G., aka Partisan Democrat
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