H. R. 6538
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 21, 2012
Mr. Nunes introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
To establish trade negotiating objectives with respect to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products, and for other purposes.
Agricultural Trade Facilitation
This title may be cited as the
Agricultural Trade Facilitation
Congress finds the following:
Pursuant to article I, section 8, clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States, Congress has the authority to establish negotiating objectives for the United States for agreements related to agricultural trade.
From 2008 to 2010, the value of United States agricultural exports averaged nearly $107 billion annually. Compared to 1998 to 2000, when the total value of agricultural exports averaged $51,000,000,000 annually, United States agricultural exports have more than doubled in past ten years.
The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports that each $1,000,000,000 in United States agricultural exports supports approximately 8,400 jobs. The Economic Research Service further reports that United States agricultural exports supported nearly 830,000 full-time American jobs both on and off-farm in 2009.
Even as the importance of agricultural exports to the United States economy grows, there are continued reports that non science-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures are restricting trade, acting as non-tariff barriers to trade. The elimination and reduction of unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade will increase United States agricultural exports and jobs.
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures are
to protect human, animal or plant life or health from
risks arising from additives, contaminants, pests, toxins, diseases, or
disease-carrying and causing organisms in foods, beverages, feedstuffs,
animals, or plants. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures can take such forms as
specific product or processing standards, requirements for products to be
produced in disease-free areas, quarantine regulations, certification or
inspection procedures, sampling and testing requirements, health-related
labeling measures, maximum permissible pesticide residue levels, and
prohibitions on certain food additives.
There are currently 37 active disputes involving sanitary and phytosanitary measures being argued within the World Trade Organization (WTO) between Member countries. These cases have been invoked under the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
While the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, to which all WTO Member countries are parties, explicitly recognizes the rights of each country to take their own measures, they must be science-based and applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant health, and cannot be arbitrary or used to unjustifiably discriminate domestically or between trading partners. Member countries are also encouraged to observe established and recognized international standards. Improper use of measures can create substantial, if not complete, barriers to United States exports when they are disguised barriers to trade, are not supported by science, or are otherwise unwarranted.
In 2010, a United States interagency group led by the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, reviewed more than 1,000 notifications from 50 countries as required under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. The United States Government commented on 173 proposed or in-force sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Nearly one-half of the comments were measures regarding processed products, one-third addressed requirements for live animals and fish (and their products, including dairy products); and almost one-quarter were for measures that introduced new standards or entry requirements for plants, bulk commodities (including those made with biotechnology), and horticultural products.
Each year, the United States Trade Representative reports that non science-based sanitary and phytosanitary trade barriers continue to threaten, constrain, or block United States agricultural exports.
A Department of
Agriculture study of the impact of foreign technical trade barriers on United
States agricultural exports reported the presence of questionable
technical barriers in more than 60 countries affecting trade in more
than 300 agricultural products, valued at an estimated $5 billion of United
States agricultural, forestry, and fishery exports using 1996 data, accounting
for about 7 percent of total agricultural exports during that year. Although
more recent formal estimates of United States agricultural trade effects are
not available, the United States Trade Representative continues to assert:
[Sanitary and phytosanitary] trade barriers prevent U.S. producers from
shipping hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods, hurting farms and
The improper use of sanitary and phytosanitary trade barriers to trade can be reduced through achieving and implementing agreements that provide for enhanced harmonization, transparency, equivalency, improved regulatory practices, and more efficient and effective dispute settlement. The elimination and reduction in use of such barriers to trade will strengthen the international trading system by providing certainty, predictability, and fair treatment.
The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures has proven valuable to United States exporters, but experience has exposed certain inadequacies in its rules.
Accordingly, as the United States prepares for future trade agreements, the Administration must prioritize further strengthening of rules on sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
Trade negotiating objectives of the United States with respect to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products
Overall trade negotiating objectives
The overall trade negotiating objective of the United States with respect to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products for trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries is to secure more open, equitable, and reciprocal market access by strengthening the rules governing the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products.
Principal trade negotiating objectives
The principal trade negotiating objectives of the United States with respect to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products are the following:
To strengthen the requirement that the application of measures is based on scientific evidence by requiring parties to the agreement to make available their risk assessments and provide a science-based justification for regulations, in particular in cases in which measures are more restrictive than international standards.
To encourage parties to the agreement to participate actively in the development of international standards relating to the application of measures and to apply those standards whenever it is appropriate to do so and to require parties to provide a scientific justification whenever they apply a standard that deviates from an established international standard.
To improve regulatory coherence and increase the use of systems-based approaches, to require parties to the agreement to evaluate on a timely basis the health and safety protection systems of other parties and to allow imports of products if the system of the exporting party meets or exceeds the end-product standards of the importing party.
To require greater transparency in the development and implementation of the measures, to require parties to the agreement to publish proposed measures, including a scientific justification, to provide an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the proposal, and to take into account reasonable concerns, and to require parties to provide significant advance notice before implementing new, non-emergency measures in order to provide ample time for any necessary adjustments by industry in order to come into compliance.
To require parties to the agreement to carry out risk analysis in a timely manner consistent with the guidelines developed by relevant international organizations, to ensure that risk assessments are based on the most relevant scientific data, to require parties to consider the full range of risk management options and to ensure that the measures are no more trade-restrictive than necessary to meet the intended purpose, and to require effective risk communication.
To improve rules governing the testing of imported products, to require importing parties to use validated test methods and to provide importers with the right to a confirmatory test, and to provide the right of appeal.
To promote the harmonization of export certification requirements and to require that parties to the agreement limit information requirements on export documents to that which is necessary to determine whether a product meets sanitary and phytosanitary standards.
To ensure that new sanitary and phytosanitary trade obligations are fully enforceable through an a more efficient and effective dispute settlement process.
Except as provided in subsection (b), this title takes effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and applies with respect to negotiations entered into before, on, or after such date of enactment for any trade agreement relating to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products.
This title does not apply with respect to negotiations for any of the following:
The United States–Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.
The United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement.
The United States–Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.
The Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization.
Generalized System of Preferences Improvement
This title may be cited
Generalized System of
Preferences Improvement Act.
Designation of beneficiary developing countries
Section 502 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2462) is amended—
in subsection (b)(2)—
in subparagraph (C)—
(C) and inserting
by adding at the end the following:
Such country enters into an agreement to afford preferential treatment to the products of a developed country, other than the United States, unless the President determines and certifies to Congress that it is in the national interests of the United States to designate such country as a beneficiary developing country under this title.
by inserting after subparagraph (H) the following:
Such country improperly uses sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, or other non-tariff trade barriers through a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction, in a manner negatively affecting trade between the country and the United States.
in the matter
following subparagraph (I) (as added by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph), by
and (H) and inserting
(H), and (I);
in subsection (c)—
in paragraph (6),
and at the end;
in paragraph (7),
by striking the period at the end and inserting
by adding at the end the following:
whether or not and the extent to which such country, in accordance with its capacity, adopts and follows international sanitary or phytosanitary standards and provides scientific justifications for deviations from such standards.
Review and report to Congress
Section 504 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2464) is amended—
in the section heading, by striking
report and inserting
The President and inserting
report on worker rights and
child labor.—The President; and
by adding at the end the following:
Report on market access
The President shall submit an annual report to the Congress on the status of market access within each covered beneficiary developing country, including findings with respect to whether or not the beneficiary country, in accordance with its capacity, has adopted and followed international sanitary and phytosanitary standards and provides scientific justifications for deviations from such standards. The report shall also include findings as to whether or not each covered beneficiary developing country has improperly used sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and other non-tariff trade barriers.
Covered beneficiary developing country
In paragraph (1), the term
covered beneficiary developing country means a beneficiary
developing country that is one of the top 20 beneficiary developing countries
in terms of dollar value of duty-free imports of articles under this title as
identified on an annual basis by the United States International Trade
United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade
This title may be cited
United States-Brazil Joint
Commission on Commerce and Trade Act.
The purpose of this title is to establish the United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade to address bilateral trade matters, seek removal of trade barriers, and promote commercial opportunities, between the United States and Brazil.
United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade
Establishment of United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade
There is established a commission to be known as the
United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (in this section
referred to as the
The purpose of the Commission is to improve the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and Brazil by establishing high level reviews of barriers to trade between the two countries, to promote commercial opportunities between the United States and Brazil, and to facilitate the dialogue necessary to examine the mutual benefits of free trade.
Membership of Commission
The Commission shall be composed of 16 members. The composition of the Commission shall be divided equally between the United States Government and the Republic of Brazil. United States Commissioners shall be appointed as follows:
Two persons shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate upon the recommendation of the majority leader of the Senate, after consultation with the Chairman of the Committee on Finance and the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
Two persons shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate upon the recommendation of the minority leader of the Senate, after consultation with the ranking minority member of the Committee on Finance and the ranking minority member of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
Two persons shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, after consultation with the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means and the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.
Two persons shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, after consultation with the ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means and the ranking minority member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.
Individuals appointed to the Commission shall be individuals who have expertise in international trade matters and United States-Brazil relations.
Period of appointment; vacancies
Members of the Commission shall be appointed to 2-year terms.
Staggering of terms
Each appointing authority referred to under clauses (i) through (iv) of paragraph (3)(A) shall—
make the appointments on a staggered term basis, so that of the members initially appointed—
1 of the 2 appointments shall be for a term expiring on December 31, 2014; and
the other appointment shall be for a term expiring on December 31, 2015; and
make the appointments not later than 30 days after the date on which each new Congress convenes.
Members of the Commission may be reappointed for additional terms of service as members of the Commission.
Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
The members of the Commission shall select co-Chairmen, one from the United States and one from Brazil.
The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairmen.
Not later than 30 days after the date on which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the Commission shall hold its first meeting.
The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairmen of the Commission, with the responsibility of chairing proceedings alternating between the United States and Brazil.
A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business of the Commission.
Each member of the Commission shall be entitled to one vote, which shall be equal to the vote of every other member of the Commission.
Not later than December 1 of each year (beginning in 2014), the Commission shall submit to the United States Congress and the National Congress of Brazil a report regarding the status and economic impact of trade relations between the United States and Brazil. The report shall include a full analysis, along with conclusions and recommendations for legislative and administrative actions, if any, concerning barriers to trade and the enhancement of economic ties.
The Commission or, at its direction, any panel or member of the Commission, may for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places, take testimony, receive evidence, and administer oaths to the extent that the Commission or such panel or member considers advisable.
The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency information that the Commission considers necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its duties under this section, unless that information is deemed to contain sensitive national intelligence information or is otherwise subject to rules concerning state secrets.
Commission personnel matters
Compensation of members
United States Members of the Commission shall be compensated in the same manner provided for the compensation of members of the Trade Deficit Review Commission under subsections (g)(1) and (g)(6) of section 127 of the Trade Deficit Review Commission Act (19 U.S.C. 2213 note).
Travel expenses of the United States Commissioners shall be allowed in the same manner provided for the allowance of the travel expenses of the Trade Deficit Review Commission under section 127(g)(2) of the Trade Deficit Review Commission Act.
An executive director and other additional personnel for the Commission shall be appointed, compensated, and terminated in the same manner provided for the appointment, compensation, and termination of the executive director and other personnel of the Trade Deficit Review Commission under section 127(g)(3) and section 127(g)(6) of the Trade Deficit Review Commission Act. The executive director and any personnel who are employees of the United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade shall be employees under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code, for purposes of chapters 63, 81, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89, and 90 of that title.
Detail of government employees
Federal Government employees may be detailed to the Commission in the same manner provided for the detail of Federal Government employees to the Trade Deficit Review Commission under section 127(g)(4) of the Trade Deficit Review Commission Act.
Assignment of personnel by the government of brazil
The Commission shall work with the Government of Brazil to secure the appropriate expertise to carry out its work, including through the assignment to the Commission of staff officials selected by the Government of Brazil and the temporary or ongoing employment of Brazilian nationals.
Foreign travel for official purposes
Foreign travel for official purposes by Commissioners to and from official proceedings may be authorized by the Chairmen of the Commission. Travel by the staff of the Commission for official purposes may be authorized by the Chairmen of the Commission only when necessary to carry out essential activities that could not otherwise be conducted using alternative means.
Procurement of temporary and intermittent services
The Chairmen of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services for the Commission in the same manner provided for the procurement of temporary and intermittent services for the Trade Deficit Review Commission under section 127(g)(5) of the Trade Deficit Review Commission Act.
Privately funded travel
The Chairmen of the Commission may authorize privately funded travel by members and staff of the Commission for activities related to the duties of the Commission. The Commission shall disclose to the public, not later than 60 days after the privately funded travel occurs, the source of the funding, together with the itinerary of the activities of members and staff of the Commission participating in the privately funded travel.
Assistance in performing duties
The President of the United States shall provide for the transfer to the Commission of such staff, materials, and infrastructure (including leased premises) of Federal departments and agencies as the President considers necessary to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to the Commission for fiscal year 2013, and for each fiscal year thereafter, such sums as may be necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its duties under this section.
Amounts appropriated to the Commission pursuant to this subsection shall remain available until expended.
Negotiations with European Union
This title may be
referred to as the
Commerce and Trade Enhancement Act.
Trade agreement authority with respect to the European Union
Subject to subsection (b), the President is authorized to seek to conduct negotiations with the European Union for purposes of entering into a trade agreement with the European Union to reduce existing duties or other import restrictions of the European Union or the United States that are unduly burdening and restricting the foreign trade of the United States.
Congressional notification and consultation
The exercise of the authority of subsection (a) shall be subject to all applicable congressional notification and consultation requirements provided for under any other provision of law.