Providing its views on the Obama administration’s trade policies and outlook, USCIB submitted written testimony to a February 9 hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee, calling on the administration to “pursue an active trade and investment agenda to open global markets.”
USCIB commended the administration for finalizing the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, for pledging to double U.S. exports over five years, and for moving forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. It also said efforts to improve enforcement of existing trade agreements, especially through the World Trade Organization, had been helpful.
But much more could be done to open global markets for U.S. business, according to USCIB. The testimony stated: “The key elements of a trade and investment agenda should include: completing the Free Trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama; concluding an ambitious Doha Agreement in the World Trade Organization; moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to reach a high-standard trade framework; identifying new bilateral and multilateral trade initiatives with significant economic partners; addressing ongoing U.S.-Chinese trade and investment issues; accelerating work on investment treaties that will ensure protection of U.S. business investments in other countries; and aggressively promoting U.S. exports of clean technologies and environmentally-friendly goods and services.”
USCIB urged the administration to act “quickly and decisively” and to undertake new trade initiatives with leading trading partners in the near term.
On March 1, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk released the Obama administration’s trade agenda. “This agenda reflects our commitment to a job-focused, comprehensive trade policy that benefits American businesses and workers as well,” he said.
This week Mr. Kirk said his office had finished preparing the Korea free trade agreement for submission to Congress. He also stated that the Colombia and Panama FTAs will require “weeks or months” of additional work to finalize, and that the administration intends to press ahead and seek approval of just the Korea pact at this time. Trade proponents on Capitol Hill and in the business community have urged that the Colombia and Panama pacts be quickly finalized so that Congress can consider the three FTAs at the same time.
Staff contact: Rob Mulligan