The new year should see a good bit of activity on trade policy issues as policymakers look for ways to boost economic opportunities for companies, workers and farmers in their countries.
Seven predictions for 2013:
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations will conclude in 2013. When enacted, TPP will create a significant trading bloc among key countries touching the Pacific Ocean.
- The United States and the European Union will formally launch negotiations for a US-EU trade agreement. The resulting deal won't likely be in the form of a regular, high-standard, US free trade agreement, but nevertheless will further expand and improve trans-Atlantic trade.
- The United States will launch formal Bilateral Investment Treaty negotiations with China and India. The process will take several years, but will strengthen relationships in the meantime.
- The new global agreement on services among willing nations, to be launched this Spring, will build on the progress made in the WTO's stalled Doha Round and further boost this vibrant sector of the global economy.
- Negotiations toward a global trade facilitation and customs agreement building on work done during the Doha Round will be launched.
- Progress will be made on China's accession to the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement.
- Congress will look at new "fast track" legislation. Such legislation, which expired several years ago, allows the Administration to negotiate trade agreements in consultation with Congress and submit them for an up or down vote with no possibility for amendments. This assures US counter-parties that Congress won't add additions requirements after the agreement is finalized.