US Chamber of Commerce’s Tami Overby on the TPP
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Vice President for Asia Tami Overby joins us to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The US Chamber of Commerce is an active supporter of the TPP, although there is opposition to the treaty within the tech community.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce argues:
U. S. businesses and workers need better access to those lucrative markets if they’re going to share in this dramatic growth. But U.S. companies are falling behind in the Asia-Pacific. While U.S. exports to the Asia-Pacific market steadily increased from 2000 to 2010, America’s share of the region’s imports declined by about 43%, according to the think tank Third Way. In fact, excluding China, East Asia in 2014 purchased a smaller share of U.S. exports in 2014 than it did five years earlier, despite a 54% increase in total U.S. merchandise exports in that period.
. . . .The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is America’s best chance to ensure the United States isn’t stuck on the outside–looking in–as Asia-Pacific nations pursue new trade accords among themselves. Its objective is to achieve a comprehensive, high-standard, and commercially meaningful trade and investment agreement with 11 other Asia-Pacific nations, including Australia, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam. It also includes Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Chile, thus offering a chance to integrate existing U.S. trade agreements in the Americas.
The TPP, however, has come under heavy criticism from the tech community, with over 250 tech companies signing an open letter to Congress warning about:
- Threats to Fair Use: The TPP contains language that could prevent countries from expanding exceptions and limitations to copyright. The Fast Track Bill also contains nothing to promote balance in copyright law. This is despite how much value fair use has added to the U.S. economy and could add for investors in the growing economies of our trading partners.
- Expensive and Harmful Costs of Online Enforcement: U.S. law incentivizes online content providers to take down content over a mere allegation of infringement. The TPP will likely emulate these rules, continuing to make it expensive and onerous for startups and small companies to oversee users’ activities and process each takedown notice.
- Criminalizing Journalism and Whistleblowing: TPP’s trade secrets provisions could make it a crime for people to reveal corporate wrongdoing “through a computer system.” The language is dangerously vague, and enables signatory countries to enact rules that would ban reporting on timely, critical issues affecting the public.
For more background on the TPP see Transpacific Partnership (TPP): Background Materials
Tami Overby, senior vice president for Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, leads Washington’s premier international policy team that is devoted to helping American companies compete and prosper in Asia’s dynamic marketplace. Overby is responsible for developing, promoting, and executing programs and policies relating to U.S. trade and investment in Asia. She works closely with Chamber member companies, business coalitions, AmChams, government leaders, and business executives to achieve their business objectives in this very important part of the world. Overby and her team led the efforts for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement ratification.
Before joining the Chamber as vice president for Asia in 2009, Overby lived and worked in South Korea for 21 years. There she worked with AIG and William M. Mercer Ltd. and spent the last 14 years leading AmCham Korea, aiming to improve the business environment for member companies in Korea. During this time, she was actively engaged in ensuring that Korea entered America’s Visa Waiver Program. Overby raised the profile of AmCham Korea to make it the largest, most influential foreign business group in Korea. In recognition of her efforts for promoting mutually cooperative economic relations between South Korea and the United States, Overby was awarded the Korean Order of Industrial Service Merit, Silver Tower by President Lee Myung-Bak in June 2009. She was previously recognized with a Letter of Citation (Bronze Tower) from both President Roh Moo-Hyun and President Kim Dae-Jung. In April 2007, Overby was awarded an Honorary Citizenship of Seoul from Mayor Oh Se-Hoon. In Korea, Overby was active in charitable programs like the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, the Seoul Children’s Welfare Committee, and AmCham’s Partnership for the Future Foundation, which raised more than $8 million and helped more than 1,400 Korean university students obtain full scholarships.