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Trade Associations Urge President Obama to Move Forward on Bipartisan U.S. Trade Agenda
Date: 8/5/2009
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Business Community Leaders Ask President to Highlight Benefits of International Economic Engagement in Upcoming Trade Speech

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today, along with five other leading trade associations, wrote President Obama, urging him to use the occasion of his upcoming speech on international trade to discuss the importance of global economic engagement to the growth of the U.S. economy and job and export opportunities for American workers and industries. In addition to NFTC President Bill Reinsch, the leaders of Business Roundtable, the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the National Association of Manufacturers, the United States Council for International Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce signed the letter.

“U.S. companies and the millions they employ depend on robust trade and economic engagement with the world to sell the goods they produce and services they provide,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “Taking action to strengthen our economic ties with other nations is vital and overdue, and we hope that President Obama will define and act on his vision of a bipartisan trade agenda in the coming weeks.”

The leaders of the six associations wrote, “At this time, your leadership is essential to start a new dialogue with the American people on how a revitalized bipartisan trade policy, along with domestic-competitiveness initiatives, can promote America’s success and get our economy moving forward again. While we can all cite statistics about how the United States’ exports, imports and investment bolster economic activity here at home, the challenge is to make those facts real for the many Americans who are fearful about losing their jobs and concerned that America can no longer compete successfully in the international economy.”

The business leaders pointed out that the Administration’s dialogue on trade should remind Americans, “domestic initiatives are vital to help restart our economy and create new jobs for our workers.” They also credited the Administration’s early expansion of the trade adjustment assistance program with “helping to ensure that workers have the skills and training to fill those new jobs.” While recognizing the importance of providing assistance to workers in industries dislocated because of trade, they also emphasized that trade and trade agreements are not the major cause of job loss in America.

“As the world’s largest exporter of goods and services that is recording a $21 billion manufactured-goods surplus with our free-trade agreement partners, the United States benefits enormously from international engagement but also faces steep challenges, both from other countries’ barriers and those here at home,” the letter stated. “In order to grow our economy, ensure good-paying jobs for Americans, enhance our national security and renew our country’s leadership position in the world, the United States cannot stand still in the international economic sphere. Rather, we need to revitalize our export and international trade leadership by moving forward actively on multilateral, regional and bilateral market-opening opportunities.”

In addition to pressing for passage of the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, the associations urged the president to pursue “major market-opening agreements with the Asia-Pacific and beyond.” The associations concluded the letter by outlining the costs to the United States if action is not taken on the trade agenda, and requested a meeting with the president to discuss these issues further.

For the full text of the letter, click here.

About the NFTC

Advancing Global Commerce for 95 Years - The National Foreign Trade Council 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.

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