High Standard is the Only Standard: The United States Must Negotiate High-Standard and Modern Trade Agreements | Business Roundtable

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New U.S. trade agreements and existing U.S. trade agreements that need to be updated should achieve high standards, build on the rules-based international trading system and effectively address emerging economic and technological developments. They should ensure free and fair trade by breaking down foreign tariff and non-tariff barriers and addressing unfair foreign trade and investment practices and unfair imports.

Existing U.S. trade agreements should be periodically reviewed to see if they should be strengthened and modernized to address any trade issues and challenges that have emerged since they were negotiated. Examples of newer trade issues and challenges include: (1) promoting e-commerce and digital trade in goods and services, including the elimination of foreign barriers, for all sectors, to the free flow of data and requirements to store data locally; (2) ensuring market access for new types of services; (3) strengthening intellectual property rights; (4) eliminating foreign localization policies and domestic content requirements for goods and services; (5) ensuring fair competition with foreign state-owned and controlled enterprises; (6) simplifying and harmonizing rules of origin across U.S. trade agreements; and (7) promoting regulatory cooperation and coherence between the United States and its trading partners.

If trade agreements are not fully and properly implemented, enforced and upgraded over time, they risk delivering less value to American businesses and workers. In updating existing U.S. trade agreements, it is critical to maintain these agreements and build on the many benefits they have created for the United States.

The key objectives for negotiating new U.S. trade agreements and modernizing and strengthening existing U.S. trade agreements are set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015 law). The TPA-2015 law also establishes procedures for: (1) congressional oversight and consultation as well as public input on trade negotiations; and (2) implementation of a completed trade agreement. These requirements ensure that negotiations on U.S. trade agreements are as transparent and informed by Congress and the public as possible.