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Covington’s Stuart Eizenstat Testifies Before House Ways and Means Subcommittee

May 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2013Stuart Eizenstat, co-chair of Covington & Burling’s international trade and finance practice, testified yesterday before the House Ways and Means Committee’s panel on trade about the benefits of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement.

Speaking on behalf of the Transatlantic Business Council, Mr. Eizenstat pressed for a barrier-free transatlantic market that contributes to economic growth, innovation and security.

“This would be the most comprehensive trade agreement in history,” Mr. Eizenstat said. “This would provide a deficit free engine for growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Mr. Eizenstat also stressed that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement is “of major geo-political importance in demonstrating that democratic governments can produce tangible gains for our people and that our democratic model of governance is the best model to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.”

“With the lapse of the WTO Doha Round, the case for a historic economic agreement between the U.S. and the European Union is even more compelling now than at any other point in recent decades.” Mr. Eizenstat said. “If the agreement is to provide significant value to our two markets, it must provide opportunities to both overcome existing regulatory barriers to trade in goods and services between our two markets and strengthen existing work to prevent barriers from being established in new and emerging technology.”

In wide-ranging testimony and answers to numerous questions from members of the subcommittee, Mr. Eizenstat helped set out a road-map for successful completion of the agreement. He stressed the crucial importance of regulatory convergence between the U.S. and the European Union, which will provide the greatest economic benefit. And he provided specific recommendations in the area of services, competition and state-owned enterprises; workforce mobility; financial services; reinforcing our high standards of intellectual property protection that includes addressing third country challenges; and ways to ensure that American and European life sciences companies maintain their competitive edge in global markets.

Mr. Eizenstat was optimistic that a historic agreement could be reached, but noted that Congress will need to provide Trade Promotion Authority on a bipartisan basis to achieve a successful result.

During a decade and a half of public service in three US administrations, Ambassador Eizenstat has held a number of key senior positions, including chief White House domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981); U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration (1993-2001).

During the Clinton Administration, Mr. Eizenstat had a prominent role in the development of key international initiatives, including the negotiations of the Transatlantic Agenda with the European Union (establishing what remains of the framework for the U.S. relationship with the EU); the development of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) among European and U.S. CEOs; the negotiation of agreements with the European Union regarding the Helms-Burton Act and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act; the negotiation of the Japan Port Agreement with the Japanese government; and the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, where he led the US delegation.

Mr. Eizenstat’s testimony can be found here.

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