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NFTC Endorses Initiation of Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations
Date: 3/4/2009

Calls TPP Potential Building Block Toward Larger Asia-Pacific
Free Trade Area

Washington, DC – In testimony today before the interagency U.S. Trade Policy Staff Committee, National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) Vice President for Regional Trade Initiatives Chuck Dittrich expressed the association's strong support for the initiation of negotiations on a U.S.-Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement. As an organization representing nearly 300 member companies that help to drive U.S. economic growth and jobs creation, the NFTC believes the TPP will expand and deepen ties with key trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region – Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, Peru and Vietnam.

"We support this focus on the Asia-Pacific region on its commercial merits. This region is key to maintaining and increasing U.S. competitiveness in the world," said Dittrich. "We believe the strategy of building on an existing P-4 agreement among Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei and adding willing partners as the terms of the agreement are strengthened is wise and may serve as a model for future regional agreements."

Dittrich highlighted the potential economic benefits of the agreement for the United States, noting that the Asia-Pacific countries represent the largest export market in the world, accounting for 41 percent of the global population, or the equivalent of 2.7 billion consumers. Further, he pointed out that the United States is the number one trading partner in the region, and the largest or second largest for every major Asian economy.

"As we face a global economic crisis of historic proportion, we endorse the initiation of this major trade liberalizing initiative as a clear statement to those who would use the economic fear now circling the globe as an excuse to erect protectionist barriers that have the potential to further damage U.S. and global economic recovery," he continued.

In addition, Dittrich noted the importance of ensuring that all trading partners at the negotiating table are committed to the highest possible standards in a number of areas, including tariff elimination, intellectual property rights protection, comprehensive liberalization of trade in services, and securing rights for U.S. investors comparable to those available in the United States, among others.

"The proof of success of the TPP process will be the ability to reach a critical mass under a high standard agreement that will also pull in larger economies in the region. This is a stated goal of not only the United States, but also of the other nations embarking on the negotiation of this new expanded TPP," said Dittrich. "They share the vision of using the TPP as a potential building block toward a larger Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, and it is in America's national interest to be an equal partner in that effort, rather than on the outside looking in."

"At a time when global pressure is closing markets, it is incumbent on the U.S. to lead and to seek new ways to open markets. The TPP is an innovative and economically significant initiative to do just that, and we wholeheartedly support it," he concluded.

For a full copy of the testimony, please click here.


About the NFTC

The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.