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President Obama today issued his trade policy agenda for 2014. We thought we’d join the discussion by sharing the U.S. Chamber’s international trade and investment priorities for the year ahead as well.
As Chamber President Tom Donohue declared in his State of American Business address in January, our first priority is to level the global playing field for American businesses and workers by removing barriers to trade and investment. In practical terms, this starts with renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).
TPA is based on the commonsense idea that the executive and legislative branches of our government need to work together on trade agreements. Under TPA, Congress sets negotiating objectives, the administration’s negotiators consult frequently with legislators, and any agreement is subject to an up-or-down vote by Congress.
TPA is vital to reaching new trade and investment agreements to ignite economic growth, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement.
The Chamber is providing input for all of these negotiations and believes they have the potential to bring huge benefits to American workers, farmers, and companies. In addition to expanding market access for U.S. exports, these agreements will establish new rules and protections in areas such as intellectual property that are vital to American innovation and competitiveness.
We’ll also continue our work at the World Trade Organization to expand the product coverage of the hugely successful Information Technology Agreement and advance the newly launched talks to lift tariffs on environmental goods.
In addition, following up on the WTO’s success at last December’s Bali Ministerial, we’ll be working with governments around the globe to secure implementation of the impressive new Trade Facilitation Agreement on commercially strong terms.
We’re also pressing for the negotiation of strong bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with China and India and exploring the possibility of BIT negotiations with Indonesia and the East African Community.
With its mandate due to lapse on September 30, the Chamber will be working hard to secure reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a tool that enhances the competitiveness of U.S. exporters of all sizes.
We also want to see Congress act to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), both of which lapsed months ago. Similarly, Congress should begin work now to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which expires next year.
Our Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation will continue to its labors to align trade, regulatory, and competition policy to ensure open and competitive markets. While this work informs our efforts on many of the aforementioned goals, one specific priority is to see the administration effectively implement its May 2012 executive order on international regulatory cooperation to support U.S. international economic interests.
We’ll be working to foster digital trade — and to combat measures that restrict the freedom to move data across international borders, including forced localization requirements.
The Chamber will continue to support efforts to conclude and build on the administration’s initiative to modernize export controls to enhance U.S. national security and competitiveness.
We’re also trying to think about the long-term. We’re exploring the feasibility of negotiations for bilateral trade agreements with other significant U.S. trading partners, including Brazil, Turkey, and Egypt.
As Tom Donohue pointed out, “We’ve got a great opportunity this year to spur jobs and growth by expanding international trade and investment.” Expanding trade is at the top of the Chamber’s priorities for 2014.
Let’s get to work.