Trade for America, a coalition made up of companies and trade associations representing almost every sector of the U.S. economy, Tuesday formally launched its campaign to renew trade negotiating authority at a press briefing held in Washington, D.C. and attended by United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab and leaders of the U.S. business and agriculture community.
The coalition believes renewal of presidential Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) before it expires on June 30, 2007 is critical to ensuring that American business, agriculture and workers are able to continue to compete in the rapidly changing global economy.
"The economic prosperity of our nation is dependent upon U.S. trade – both imports and exports, and renewal of trade negotiating authority is paramount to ensuring future trade growth," said Trade for America Co-Chair Leslie Griffin, Vice President, International Government Affairs, New York Life Insurance Company. "We are very pleased to be launching this effort to renew trade negotiating authority and look forward to working with both parties to build a bipartisan consensus on the future of U.S. trade."
According to the coalition Trade agreements and increased exports are vital to U.S. businesses, workers and farmers, as 96 percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States. Through expanded trade the United States will create new opportunities to sell products and services abroad, and consumers will benefit from lower prices and greater choices here at home.
"America's major trade competitors, including the European Union, China and Japan are actively and aggressively negotiating trade agreements throughout the world. To keep pace and ensure U.S. success at the negotiating table, Congress must renew this critical tool," Griffin concluded.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which will serve on the coalition’s steering committee, joined the other business groups in supporting the renewal of the TPA.
“The President’s TPA authority expires in less than five months and we can’t afford to let the Doha Round and bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Korea and Malaysia slip away because the window of opportunity is closed,” said NAM President John Engler.
“Without TPA, it’s not possible to get these market-opening agreements through Congress,” Engler added. “These free trade agreements allow America’s manufactured goods to be exported duty-free, compared to the 14 percent duty that is imposed, on average, in countries without an FTA."