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State Board Report

May 2013

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office is moving ahead with several initiatives that will be covering trade in accounting services around the world, according to a report given by Director of Trade Negotiations Thomas Fine to the NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) on April 5 in Durham, NC. An international services agreement is being developed that will initially cover 21 nations. This agreement will be focused solely on services, to avoid some of the complications other international agreements encountered because they also covered industrial tariffs and agriculture.

The USTR is also working on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is aimed at creating a free trade agreement with the European Union. The call for public comments on this agreement was in the April 1, 2013 Federal Register. Mr. Fine told IQAB the EU is eager to set up mutual recognition agreements. Free trade agreements have been concluded with Columbia, Panama and Korea, Mr. Fine noted, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been launched, which includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico besides the Asian countries.

Mr. Fine praised the detailed, careful work being done by NASBA/AICPA IQAB to create mutual recognition agreements. He said the accounting profession has set “the gold standard” for professions’ efforts in this area.

Updates presented by IQAB task forces did not anticipate any new MRAs within the next six months. IQAB Chair Telford A. Lodden (IA) appointed a task force to consider the MRA with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, which comes up for renewal in 2014. The NZ Institute is working on establishing a joint program with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and the new task force will study the details of that arrangement.

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