Tuesday, 24 March 2009

New US Trade Representative - Afro implications

Ron Kirk steps into the role of United States Trade Representative, sworn in by Vice President Joseph Biden on Friday. Kirk is the first African American to assume the position. Kirk’s office is responsible for the development and oversight of U.S. trade policy, including strategy, negotiation, implementation and enforcement of the country’s trade agreements. He will also oversee the country’s trade policy involving agriculture, industry, services and investment, intellectual property, environment, labor, development and preference programs. (afro.com)

Insight into Obama's campaign pledges (which Kirk is likely to implement) are summarised on "Eyes on Trade that, according to Obama, trade agreements will not "stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications." This provides a starting place for Kirk's formulation of a new policy as well as answers to some of Joff Wild's questions posed recently on Afro-IP here.

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