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U.S. Business Community and NGO Leaders Unite to Urge the President and Congress to Take Action on Trade & Investment Agenda
Date: 3/20/2009
Written By: Jennifer Cummings or Eric Thomas, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Call on Policymakers to Work With Our International Partners to Spur Global Economic Growth and Development

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today joined a unique combination of individuals from prominent U.S. business community and non-governmental organizations in urging the Administration and Congress to enact policies that promote global economic growth and increase international trade and investment flows. In a letter sent today to President Obama and House and Senate leaders, a broad cross section of organizations, representing the business, faith-based and development communities, argued that at this time of economic crisis, trade and investment policies are critical to aiding developing countries and alleviating poverty.

In addition to the NFTC, the letter was signed by leaders of 16 organizations, including Business Roundtable, the Center for Global Development, the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the ONE Campaign, Oxfam America and the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, among others. The letter stated, "It is highly unusual for the development, faith-based, and business communities to write a joint letter to the Administration and Congress, but there are aspects of the current global financial crisis that warrant such common efforts."

"During this difficult period for economies around the world, it is necessary to recognize that the economic welfare of Americans is inextricably linked with the well-being of men, women, and children across the globe," the letter stated. "It is essential, therefore, that the United States reject those policies that will worsen the impact of the current economic crisis on global economic growth and development, particularly with respect to poor nations, and work instead, alongside the people of these nations to further their own sustainable development. By doing so, we ultimately secure our own economic future."

Citing three recent reports from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, the organizations pointed to evidence of the impact of the global economic crisis on developing countries and the need for swift, purposeful action. The letter noted that countries in Africa are at risk of sliding further into poverty, as are other nations in the developing world. The letter also highlighted a World Bank statistic, which shows that each one percent drop in global economic growth could trap another 20 million people in poverty.

"Our organizations have come together under one umbrella to send a clear message to the President and to Congress that taking action on U.S. trade and investment policies will not only help to stimulate the U.S. economy and help us here at home, but will also help to improve the economic well-being of people around the world," said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. "Sound international trade and investment policies are part of the solution to the crisis we are all facing."

The letter outlined four key steps the Administration and Congress should take to promote global economic growth, encourage poverty alleviation, increase political stability, and promote openness. The organizations called on policymakers to affirm and  "work vigorously" toward a successful conclusion of the Doha Round; reaffirm at the London Summit in April the G-20 commitment to rejecting protectionism; review and reform U.S. trade preference programs to ensure their efficacy; and reinforce the U.S. commitment to increase development assistance.

The letter concluded, "It is important to remember that at the heart of the global financial system are working families and local communities whose fate is bound together in a globalized economy. Our nation is undergoing severe distress in terms of jobs, businesses and investment that is taking a daily toll on people. Such problems should motivate us to seek solutions that reject destructive protectionism on the one hand and global indifference to the plight of the poor on the other."

To read the full letter, click here:   www.nftc.org/default/Trade Policy/Trade_Policy/Global Trade and Development Joint Ltr.pdf


About the NFTC

Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years -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.