The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 4125. Findings and purpose
The General Assembly makes the following findings of fact:
(1) Today's international trade agreements have impacts that extend significantly beyond the bounds of traditional trade matters such as tariffs and quotas. Restrictive government procurement rules, for example, may undermine State purchasing laws and preferences that are designed to promote good jobs and a healthy environment.
(2) As the subject matters contained within trade agreements expand, these agreements may impact on areas traditionally governed by the states, including economic development, financial investment, environmental policies, pharmaceutical policy, recreational services, utilities and energy distribution, and agricultural subsidies. The subject matter addressed by trade agreements is constantly evolving into new areas and becomes more likely over time to infringe on State law or policy.
(3) Specific examples in one area important to Vermont- State economic development and environmental policies- that might be constrained by government procurement provisions in international trade agreements include buy-local laws, electronic waste recycling laws, and renewable energy purchasing requirements. Measures that conflict with obligations in one or more international trade agreements could be challenged as potential barriers to trade.
(4) Input from states has been essential to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's understanding of state practices that may be impacted by policies in trade agreements. For example, after states protested that language in the Australia-United States trade agreement was ambiguous and created uncertainty as to whether it applied to Medicaid preferred drug lists, the United States specifically clarified in the Korea-United States trade agreement that similar pharmaceutical policies did not apply to Medicaid.
(5) Currently, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative asks state governors, without input from state legislatures, whether they will commit state purchasing to trade rules. States, through their governors, may opt into or out of trade rules dealing with government procurement.
(6) Historically, the General Assembly and the Governor have worked together to adopt and implement State procurement policies. The decision to consent to the coverage of Vermont under procurement provisions of international trade agreements should also include consultation with and agreement by the Legislative Branch.
(7) If future trade rules permit states to opt into or out of trade rules dealing with investment and services, in addition to procurement, then the General Assembly intends for the procedures in this chapter to apply to those provisions as well.
(8) It is important for the State to provide information and recommendations to Congress and the U.S. Trade Representative about the possible impacts of proposed trade agreements on State law and policy. (Added 2009, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 43; eff. April 15, 2010.)
§ 4126. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Commission" means the Commission on International Trade and State Sovereignty established in 3 V.S.A. § 23.
(2) "International trade agreement" or "trade agreement" means a trade agreement between the federal government and a foreign country. It does not include a trade agreement between the State and a foreign country to which the federal government is not a party. (Added 2009, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 43; eff. April 15, 2010.)
§ 4127. Approval of trade agreements
(a) Options for binding the State. If the U.S. government provides the State of Vermont with the opportunity to consent to or reject binding the State to a trade agreement or to a provision within a trade agreement, then the Governor may bind the State or give consent to the U.S. government to bind the State only after consultation with the Commission as provided for in subsection (c) of this section.
(b) Recommendations to Congress and the U.S. Trade Representative. In all other circumstances in which the U.S. government provides the State with information about a proposed trade agreement, the Commission shall make a recommendation to Vermont's delegation to Congress and to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative within the time frame requested by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
(c) Consultation process.
(1) When a communication from the U.S. Trade Representative regarding a proposed trade agreement is received by the State, the person who receives the communication shall submit a copy of the communication and any proposed trade agreement or relevant provisions of the trade agreement to the Chairs of the Commission. The Chairs may disseminate the information to the chairs of the relevant legislative standing committees of jurisdiction.
(2) The Commission shall review and analyze the trade agreement and issue a recommendation on the potential impact of the trade agreement to the appropriate party as described in subsections (a) and (b) of this section within a time frame that will afford Vermont's recommendations due consideration. (Added 2009, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 43; eff. April 15, 2010.)