Washington, D.C., October 19, 2011 – Following Congressional approval last week of the three long-pending free trade agreements, the business community in a letter today to President Obama is urging the United States to take an ambitious approach to a possible multilateral trade agreement with several Asia-Pacific nations.
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s top global companies, has joined with a range of other leading industry associations in urging the U.S. to pursue “a comprehensive agreement that covers every sector and sub-sector of the U.S. economy” in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations currently underway with eight nations.
The business groups said such an approach would ensure that “the final TPP produces new economic opportunities and exports to sustain and increase American jobs [and] the maximum commercial benefits of the burgeoning Asia-Pacific market.”
Other parties to the TPP negotiations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Taken together, these countries represent the third-largest U.S. export market.
“The TPP must be a gold-standard agreement for the 21st century,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “It needs to be ambitious and comprehensive, with high standards and all industry sectors covered, as the United States has sought to do via its bilateral trade and investment agreements. When countries seek to carve out certain sectors for special protection, this can cause a downward spiral where the end product is a far less effective agreement than it could be.”
The joint industry letter underscored that carve-outs and exemptions would tend to undermine U.S. competitiveness, and would reduce the TPP’s economic appeal for exporters and global firms.
Mr. Robinson said the TPP talks had made important progress in establishing rules for liberalization of foreign investment, and promised to bear fruit in three areas not previously addressed via a binding multilateral trade agreement: supply-chain integration, rules for state-owned enterprises and regulatory coherence.
“Global growth, U.S. competitiveness and good American jobs rest increasingly on tackling issues beyond the scope of earlier trade agreements,” stated Mr. Robinson. “That’s why it’s crucial that we address these in an ambitious, comprehensive manner via the TPP.”
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations for which it serves as U.S. affiliate, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.