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Senator Nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to China
Big news came in the U.S. Senate and in the trade world as 2013 drew to an end. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who had announced he would not run for reelection next year, was nominated by the White House as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. Currently, Senator Baucus serves as the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over trade policy.
The timing of Chairman Baucus’ confirmation looks to be mid-February. After his confirmation it is expected that Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will become the next chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
Free Trade Agreements and Fast Track Authority on the Move
Currently, the U.S. is pursuing one of the most ambitious trade agendas in decades, discussing trade agreements that would open markets with Pacific-Rim countries and Europe.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP) is still in the process of being negotiated. TPP, which comprises 11 Pacific Rim countries, including Japan, could phase out the 2.5 percent car tariff and 25 percent truck tariff over the span of 20 years. Negotiations for TTIP, or the U.S. – European Union Agreement, are also underway. In November, teams from the U.S. and EU completed a successful set of meetings in Brussels, marking the end of the second round of negotiations. Reports suggest that the second round enabled the teams from the U.S. and EU to discuss specific trade and investment issues, as well as areas of potential convergence in services, investment and regulatory concerns. Negotiations will continue on both trade pacts in early 2014.
Alongside the ongoing TPP and TTIP negotiations is President Obama’s request for fast track authority, also known as Trade Promotion Authority or TPA. President Obama needs TPA to complete TPP and advance negotiations with the European Union. Updated TPA legislation, last passed in 2002 and expired in 2007, would provide clear guidance on Congress’ requirements for trade agreements. The legislation would also provide the U.S.’s trading partners with a degree of comfort that the U.S. is committed to the international trade negotiating process and the agreements we negotiate.
Legislation for TPA will be introduced this month in both chambers. Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will introduce TPA legislation as soon as this week. Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), of the House Committee on Ways and Means, plans to introduce TPA legislation in the House soon after. Hearings on TPA are expected to take place as soon as the following week.
THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS
The House and Senate will return from their holiday recess on January 6th and will be in session through Friday, January 10th.
JOIN AIADA IN NEW ORLEANS!
Register TODAY for AIADA’s 44th Annual Meeting and Luncheon
Registration is now available for AIADA’s 44th Annual Meeting and Luncheon, to be held January 27, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel. Join fellow dealers and industry leaders for a look at The Road Ahead for international nameplate dealers in the U.S. The event will feature keynote remarks by Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. In addition to Carter’s remarks, AIADA’s 44th Annual Meeting and Luncheon will include the presentation of the David F. Mungenast Lifetime Achievement Award and the passing of AIADA’s chairman’s gavel from the current chairwoman, Jenell Ross of Ohio, to the chairman-elect, Larry Kull, of New Jersey. Don’t miss this chance to connect with others in the industry and help chart The Road Ahead for our industry. Reserve your spot at AIADA’s 44th Annual Meeting and Luncheon by clicking here, or by calling 1-800-GO-AIADA.