Washington, DC In response to the release of President Obama’s 2009 trade policy agenda, National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) President Bill Reinsch today issued the following statement.
“We welcome the agenda so early in the Administration, particularly the indication that the Administration is prepared to move forward on the Panama FTA and develop a path for progress on the other two outstanding agreements with Colombia and Korea.
“We also share the Administration’s support for an ambitious Doha Round agenda, its renewed focus on removing non-tariff barriers to trade, and a commitment to seek new agreements which have significant benefits for American businesses, workers and farmers. We look forward to hearing their plans for achieving the worthy goals that they have set out.
“We appreciate and endorse the emphasis on policies that benefit American workers and help society to deal with the often painful adjustments which are part of the modern global economy. In this regard, like the Administration, we welcome the expansion of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program that was included in the stimulus bill, something the NFTC and other associations fought hard for.
“While we support the laudable social goals articulated in the document, we need to remember that just as trade policy cannot be the solution to all of our domestic economic problems, neither can it solve all the social problems of other nations as we perceive them. Trade agreements are reached by negotiation, which means each side must demonstrate flexibilities in order to reach agreement. We certainly do not expect an administration at this point to reveal where its flexibilities may lie, but would remind policymakers that they will inevitably have to address the priorities and concerns of potential negotiating partners.
“Overall, the United States would benefit from the greater degree of transparency and consultation that the document promises. As an organization that has been actively engaged in consulting with previous administrations for 95 years, we welcome more consultation and transparency. We hope that any new processes created will not ignore the interests and concerns of the millions of Americans whose jobs rely on the export and import of products and services.
“Finally, we welcome the Administration’s emphasis on energy and environment. In particular, we support strong leadership from President Obama in international negotiations involving trade and the environment, including a successful conclusion of an agreement to liberalize trade in environmentally-friendly goods and services. We believe that the success of the Administration’s important environmental and energy objectives will require multilateral negotiation and agreement rather than unilateral action.”
For a full copy of the Administration’s trade policy agenda, visit http://www.ustr.gov/Document_Library/Recent_News/Section_Index.html.
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.