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Adapted and abridged from The State of World Trade 2014: The Outlook for American Jobs, Economic Growth, and Global Leadership speech.
Those of you who have visited the U.S. Chamber in Washington know we’re just across Lafayette Park from the White House. A couple of years ago, we put up a banner with 30-foot high letters across the front of our building, spelling J — O — B — S. With more than 10 million American are unemployed, it’s a reminder to the president and to ourselves that no priority facing our nation is more important than putting Americans back to work.
World trade is playing a vital role as we reach for this job-creation goal. For manufacturers and service providers — for workers, farmers, and ranchers— for companies both large and small — trade is not an optional luxury. It’s an economic imperative.
The United States needs a forward-leaning trade policy that recognizes both the immense opportunities presented by international commerce as well as the challenges it presents.
Building on this clear-eyed vision, trade can revitalize our weak economy and create hundreds of thousands of badly needed jobs without raising taxes and without adding to the deficit. It can help attract foreign investment, travelers, and talent that will spur our economy and put even more Americans back to work.
The U.S. Chamber believes that American workers, farmers, and companies must be allowed to operate on a level playing field when it comes to trade. We need a strategy for opening overseas markets.
The United States cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while others set the rules of world trade. To create the jobs, growth, and prosperity our children need, we need to set the agenda. Otherwise, our workers and businesses will miss out on huge opportunities. Our standard of living and our standing in the world will suffer.
We need a laser-like focus on access to foreign markets. We need to renew the president’s Trade Promotion Authority and pursue new trade agreements to ensure that international commerce is fair.
The trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, services, technology, and environmental goods trade agreements now being negotiated represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to tear down the walls that have shut American goods and services out of foreign markets for so long. We need to seize this opportunity with both hands.
And with all our trade agreements — old and new — we need to ensure they are fully enforced. The trade agreements we enter into aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if they aren’t 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’ve also got tougher competition facing us than ever before. But our productivity is high, and our energy costs are going down. The facts show we can compete and win.
The U.S. Chamber looks forward to working with all of you to advance a bold trade agenda to generate growth, opportunity, and jobs.