Trade Agreements

Trade Agreements in the United States

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (gatt) in the International Business Landscape

Definition of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (gatt) in the context of U.S. international business and public trade policy: International treaty that committed signatories to lowering barriers to the free flow of goods across national borders led to the WTO.

Trade Agreements–U.S.-Colombia

Presidential Memorandum (October 3, 2011):

“I am pleased to transmit legislation and supporting documents to implement the United States Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (Agreement). The Agreement is an important part of my Administration’s efforts to spur economic growth, increase exports, and create jobs in the United States, while promoting our core values. The Agreement will create significant new opportunities for American workers, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and consumers by opening the Colombian market and eliminating barriers to U.S. goods, services, and investment.

The Agreement also represents a historic development in our relations with Colombia. Colombia is a steadfast strategic partner of the United States and a leader in the region. The Agreement reflects the commitment of the United States to supporting democracy and economic growth in Colombia. It will also help Colombia battle production of illegal crops by creating alternative economic opportunities.

Under the Agreement, tariffs on over 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports will be eliminated immediately. United States agricultural exports in particular will enjoy substantial new improvements in access to Colombia’s market. Currently, no U.S. agricultural exports enjoy duty free access to Colombia. Once the Agreement enters into force, almost 70 percent, by value, of current U.S. agricultural exports will be able to enter Colombia duty free immediately. In addition, the Agreement will give American service providers greater access to Colombia’s $134 billion services market. This will help to level the playing field, since 91 percent of our imports from Colombia have enjoyed duty free access to our market under U.S. trade preference programs.

The Agreement contains state of the art provisions to help protect and enforce intellectual property rights, reduce regulatory red tape, and eliminate regulatory barriers to U.S. exports. The Agreement also contains the highest standards for protecting labor rights, carrying out covered environmental agreements, and ensuring that key domestic labor and environmental laws are enforced, combined with strong remedies for noncompliance. Colombia has already made significant reforms related to the obligations it will have under the labor chapter. A number of these steps have been taken in fulfillment of the commitments Colombia made in the agreed Action Plan Related to Labor Rights that President Santos and I announced on April 7. Colombia must successfully implement key elements of the Action Plan before I will bring the Agreement into force.

This Agreement forms an integral part of my Administration’s larger strategy of doubling exports by the end of 2014 through opening markets around the world. In addition, the Agreement provides an opportunity to strengthen our economic and political ties with the Andean region, and underpins U.S. support for democracy while contributing to further hemispheric integration and economic growth in the United States. This Agreement is vital to ensuring Colombia continues on its trajectory of positive change.

As a part of an ambitious trade agenda, it is important that the Congress renew a strong and robust Trade Adjustment Assistance Program consistent with reforms enacted in 2009. Renewal of that program is necessary to support Americans who need training and other services when their jobs are adversely affected by trade. As we expand access to other markets abroad, we need to ensure that American workers are provided the tools needed to take advantage of these opportunities and are not left behind in the global economy.

Approval of the Agreement is therefore in our national interest. I urge the Congress to enact this legislation promptly.”

Trade Agreements–U.S.-Panama

Presidential Memorandum (October 3, 2011):

“I am pleased to transmit legislation and supporting documents to implement the United States Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (Agreement). The Agreement is an important part of my Administration’s efforts to spur economic growth, increase exports, and create jobs here in the United States, while promoting our core values. The Agreement will create significant new opportunities for American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, investors, and businesses by opening Panama’s market and eliminating barriers to U.S. goods, services, and investment.

The Agreement also represents an important development in our relations with Panama, and accords with the goal, as expressed by the Congress in the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, to conclude comprehensive, mutually advantageous trade agreements with beneficiary countries of the Caribbean Basin Initiative trade preference program. The Agreement further reflects a commitment on the part of the United States to sustained engagement in support of democracy, economic growth, and opportunity in Panama and the region.

Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. Upon entry into force of the Agreement, Panama will immediately eliminate its tariffs on over 87 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods and on more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural goods. Panama will eliminate most other duties on U.S. exports within a 15 year transition period. Eighty five percent of U.S. businesses exporting to Panama are small and medium sized enterprises. The elimination of duties provided for in the Agreement will help to level the playing field for them and for all U.S. exporters, based on 2010 trade flows, as approximately 98 percent of our imports from Panama already enjoy duty free access to the U.S. market. In addition, the Agreement will give American service providers greater access to Panama’s $20.6 billion services market.

The Agreement contains state of the art provisions to help protect and enforce intellectual property rights, reduce regulatory red tape, and eliminate regulatory barriers to U.S. exports. The Agreement also contains the highest standards for protecting labor rights, carrying out covered environmental agreements, and ensuring that key domestic labor and environmental laws are enforced, combined with strong remedies for noncompliance. Panama has already made significant reforms related to the obligations it will have under the labor chapter.

As a part of an ambitious trade agenda, it is important that the Congress renew a strong and robust Trade Adjustment Assistance Program consistent with reforms enacted in 2009. Renewal of that program is necessary to support Americans who need training and other services when their jobs are adversely affected by trade. As we expand access to other markets abroad, we need to ensure that American workers are provided the tools needed to take advantage of these opportunities and are not left behind in the global economy.

Approval of the Agreement is in our national interest. The Agreement will strengthen our economic and political ties with Panama, support democracy, and contribute to further economic integration in our hemisphere and economic growth in the United States. I urge the Congress to enact this legislation promptly.”

Trade Agreements–U.S.-Korea

Presidential Memorandum (October 3, 2011):

“I am pleased to transmit legislation and supporting documents to implement the United States Korea Free Trade Agreement (Agreement), a landmark agreement that supports American jobs, advances U.S. interests, and reflects America’s fundamental values.

The Agreement levels the playing field for U.S. businesses, workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, investors, and service providers by offering them unprecedented access to Korea’s nearly $1 trillion economy. The Agreement eliminates tariffs on over 95 percent of U.S. exports of industrial and consumer goods to Korea within the first 5 years and, together with the agreement entered into through an exchange of letters in February 2011, addresses key outstanding concerns of American automakers and workers regarding the lack of a level playing field in Korea’s auto market. The Agreement also ensures that almost two thirds of current U.S. agricultural exports will enter Korea duty free immediately. In addition, the Agreement will give American service providers much greater access to Korea’s $580 billion services market.

The Agreement contains state of the art provisions to help protect and enforce intellectual property rights, reduce regulatory red tape, and eliminate regulatory barriers to U.S. exports. The Agreement also contains the highest standards for protecting labor rights, carrying out covered environmental agreements, and ensuring that key domestic labor and environmental laws are enforced, combined with strong remedies for noncompliance.

Increased U.S. exports expected under the Agreement will support more than 70,000 American jobs. The Agreement will bolster our economic competitiveness in the Asia-Pacific region and our regional security interests. The United States once was the top supplier of goods exported to Korea. Over the past decade, our share of Korea’s import market for goods has fallen from 21 percent to just 10 percent behind China and Japan, and barely ahead of the European Union (EU). The EU and several other trading partners are negotiating or have recently concluded trade agreements with Korea. If the United States-Korea trade agreement is not approved, the United States could lose further market share, export supported jobs, and economic growth opportunities, with damage to our leadership position in the region.

As a part of an ambitious trade agenda, it is important that the Congress renew a strong and robust Trade Adjustment Assistance Program consistent with reforms enacted in 2009. Renewal of that program is necessary to support Americans who need training and other services when their jobs are adversely

affected by trade. As we expand access to other markets abroad, we need to ensure that American workers are provided the tools needed to take advantage of these opportunities and are not left behind in the global economy.

Approving and implementing the Agreement is an opportunity to shape history. We must seize the moment together to support jobs for the American people today and to sustain U.S. leadership well into the 21st century. I urge the Congress to enact this legislation promptly.”

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the International Business Landscape

Definition of North American Free Trade Agreement (nafta) in the context of U.S. international business and public trade policy: Agreement establishing free trade among the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Negotiated by President Bush and signed on 17 December 1992, NAFTA removes barriers to trade and investment and improves the protection of intellectual property rights. Prior to seeking congressional implementation of NAFTA, President Clinton negotiated side agreements on labor and environmental issues. Congress approved implementation of NAFTA in November 1993.

Trade Agreements

In Legislation

Trade Agreements in the U.S. Code: Title 19, Chapter 7, Subchapter II

The current, permanent, in-force federal laws regulating trade agreements are compiled in the United States Code under Title 19, Chapter 7, Subchapter II. It constitutes “prima facie” evidence of statutes relating to Customs Duties (including trade agreements) of the United States. The reader can further narrow his/her legal research of the general topic (in this case, Trade Expansion and Agreements of the US Code, including trade agreements) by chapter and subchapter.

Trade Agreements: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Trade Agreements. This part provides references, in relation to Trade Agreements, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Trade Agreements by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Trade Agreements and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Trade Agreements or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Trade Agreements and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Trade Agreements. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Trade Agreements should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Trade Agreements when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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