United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer has notified Congress that the Trump Administration intends to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.
The move, which came at the direction of President Trump, is following the procedures set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 – often referred to as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – which requires ongoing consultations with Congress. These consultations ensure that USTR develops negotiating positions with the benefit of Congress’ views. USTR will also publish notices in the Federal Register requesting the public’s input on the direction, focus, and content of the trade negotiations.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, we will continue to expand US trade and investment by negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU, and the United Kingdom,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “Today’s announcement is an important milestone in that process. We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”
Negotiations are expected to begin no earlier than 14 January 2019 with the EU and Japan, while talks with the UK will begin “as soon as it is ready” after it exits from the EU on 29 March 2019, according to international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg (ST&R).