Testimony Regarding the Proposed United States–Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement

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On January 23, 2009, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a Request for Comments and Notice of Public Hearing concerning the last minute Bush administration proposal that the United States join in negotiations for a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPPFTA) between Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, Peru and Vietnam. The USTR gave notice that it seeks public comment to assist the USTR in amplifying and clarifying negotiating objectives for the proposed agreements and to provide advice on how specific goods and services and other matters should be treated under the proposed agreement. However, the first order inquiry must be into why the Obama administration would consider picking up this end-game Bush administration trade agenda item that runs counter to its stated trade and domestic agenda priorities rather than pursuing the new trade reform agenda that President Obama pledged during his campaign.