H.R. 6538 (112th): To establish trade negotiating objectives with respect to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural ...

...products, and for other purposes.

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Sep 21, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6538

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 21, 2012

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

A BILL

To establish trade negotiating objectives with respect to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products, and for other purposes.

I

Agricultural Trade Facilitation

101.

Short title

This title may be cited as the Agricultural Trade Facilitation Act.

102.

Congressional findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

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.

(2)

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.

(3)

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.

(4)

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.

(5)

Sanitary and phytosanitary measures are those designed 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.

(6)

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.

(7)

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.

(8)

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.

(9)

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.

(10)

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 small businesses.

(11)

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.

(12)

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.

(13)

Accordingly, as the United States prepares for future trade agreements, the Administration must prioritize further strengthening of rules on sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

103.

Trade negotiating objectives of the United States with respect to the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to agricultural products

(a)

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.

(b)

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:

(1)

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.

(2)

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.

(3)

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.

(4)

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.

(5)

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.

(6)

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.

(7)

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.

(8)

To ensure that new sanitary and phytosanitary trade obligations are fully enforceable through an a more efficient and effective dispute settlement process.

104.

Effective date

(a)

In general

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.

(b)

Exception

This title does not apply with respect to negotiations for any of the following:

(1)

The United States–Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

(2)

The United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement.

(3)

The United States–Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.

(4)

The Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization.

II

Generalized System of Preferences Improvement

201.

Short title

This title may be cited as the Generalized System of Preferences Improvement Act.

202.

Designation of beneficiary developing countries

Section 502 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2462) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b)(2)—

(A)

in subparagraph (C)—

(i)

by striking (C) and inserting (C)(i); and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following:

(ii)

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.

;

(B)

by inserting after subparagraph (H) the following:

(I)

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.

; and

(C)

in the matter following subparagraph (I) (as added by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph), by striking and (H) and inserting (H), and (I); and

(2)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

in paragraph (6), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in paragraph (7), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(8)

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.

.

203.

Review and report to Congress

Section 504 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2464) is amended—

(1)

in the section heading, by striking report and inserting reports;

(2)

by striking The President and inserting (a) report on worker rights and child labor.—The President; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

Report on market access

(1)

In general

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.

(2)

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 Commission.

.

III

United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

301.

Short title

This title may be cited as the United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade Act.

302.

Purpose

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.

303.

United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

(a)

Establishment of United States-Brazil Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

(1)

In general

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 Commission).

(2)

Purpose

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.

(3)

Membership of Commission

(A)

Composition

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:

(i)

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.

(ii)

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.

(iii)

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.

(iv)

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.

(B)

Qualifications

Individuals appointed to the Commission shall be individuals who have expertise in international trade matters and United States-Brazil relations.

(4)

Period of appointment; vacancies

(A)

In general

Members of the Commission shall be appointed to 2-year terms.

(B)

Staggering of terms

Each appointing authority referred to under clauses (i) through (iv) of paragraph (3)(A) shall—

(i)

make the appointments on a staggered term basis, so that of the members initially appointed—

(I)

1 of the 2 appointments shall be for a term expiring on December 31, 2014; and

(II)

the other appointment shall be for a term expiring on December 31, 2015; and

(ii)

make the appointments not later than 30 days after the date on which each new Congress convenes.

(C)

Reappointment

Members of the Commission may be reappointed for additional terms of service as members of the Commission.

(D)

Vacancies

Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(5)

Chairmen

The members of the Commission shall select co-Chairmen, one from the United States and one from Brazil.

(6)

Meetings

The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairmen.

(A)

Initial meeting

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.

(B)

Subsequent meetings

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.

(C)

Quorum

A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business of the Commission.

(7)

Voting

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.

(b)

Duties

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.

(c)

Hearings

(1)

In general

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.

(2)

Information

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.

(d)

Commission personnel matters

(1)

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).

(2)

Travel expenses

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.

(3)

Staff

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.

(4)

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.

(5)

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.

(6)

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.

(7)

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.

(8)

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.

(e)

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.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

(1)

In general

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.

(2)

Availability

Amounts appropriated to the Commission pursuant to this subsection shall remain available until expended.

IV

Negotiations with European Union

401.

Short title

This title may be referred to as the Transatlantic Commerce and Trade Enhancement Act.

402.

Trade agreement authority with respect to the European Union

(a)

Authority

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.

(b)

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.