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U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is kicking off World Trade Month this morning with testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on the administration’s trade agenda. He may find it an easier sell than in the past: Americans are increasingly bullish on trade.
The committee and Ambassador Froman are likely to spend much of their time discussing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a nearly concluded trade negotiation with 11 Asia-Pacific nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the EU. Once concluded, the two agreements will provide American exporters and the workers they employ with access to markets representing two-thirds of the global economy.
Also topping the agenda: The need to renew Trade Promotion Authority to ensure effective executive-legislative collaboration in the negotiation of new trade pacts.
And the public? According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, “a majority of Americans (55%) believe TPP is a good thing, while just 25% think the agreement will be bad for the country.” Pew also found that Americans believe the TTIP will be good for the country by a 53% to 20% margin.
Gallup found much the same in its annual trade survey earlier this year: “After years of being generally skeptical about foreign trade, or at best divided over it, Americans now firmly view trade as a benefit to the U.S. economy. Similar to last year, 54% of Americans say trade represents an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports, while 38% consider it a threat to the economy from foreign imports.”
The Chamber submitted its pro-jobs trade agenda to Congress in advance of the Senate Finance Committee hearing today. It’s simple:
In addition to TPA, TPP, and TTIP, the business community has expressed strong support for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion negotiations. All told, these represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to tear down the walls that have shut American goods and services out of foreign markets for too long. We need to seize these opportunities.
And with all our trade agreements — old and new — we need to ensure they are fully enforced. The trade agreements we enter into are not worth the paper they are written on if they are not fully enforced.
The United States is home to many of the best workers and companies in the world. We create many of the world’s most innovative products. We also face tougher competition than ever before. But our productivity is high, and our energy costs are going down. The facts show we can compete and win.