Featured Segment: US Chamber of Commerce’s Tami Overby on the TPP

US Chamber of Commerce’s Tami Overby on the TPP

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overby_tami_2014_rgb_3x4The 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.