On October 16, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) notified Congress of the Trump administration’s plans to enter into free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union (EU). (See Trump and Trade Update dated October 17, 2018.) The USTR is seeking to remove both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve fairer, more balanced trade. To further develop its negotiating objectives, USTR has requested public comments on such an agreement, including U.S. interests and priorities.

The USTR is specifically seeking comments on these issues:

  • General and product-specific negotiating objectives for the proposed agreement.
  • Relevant barriers to trade in goods and services between the United States and the EU that should be addressed in the negotiations.
  • The economic costs and benefits for U.S. producers and consumers of the removal or reduction of tariffs and removal or reduction of non-tariff barriers on articles traded with the EU.
  • Treatment of specific goods (described by U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule numbers) under the proposed agreement, including comments on: (i) product-specific import or export interests or barriers; (ii) experience with particular measures that should be addressed in the negotiations; and (iii) ways to address export priorities and import sensitivities in the context of the proposed agreement.
  • Customs and trade facilitation issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
  • Sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade that should be addressed in the negotiations.
  • Other measures or practices that undermine fair market opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers that should be addressed in the negotiations.

Written comments addressing USTR’s negotiating objectives must be submitted no later than December 10, 2018. USTR’s Trade Policy Staff Committee will hold a public hearing on these negotiating objectives on December 14, 2018; any request to appear and testify must be submitted by November 26. Requests to testify and written comments must be filed through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov on Docket No. USTR-2018-0035.