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Trade Associations Urge Obama To Move Forward With Trade Agenda

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

10 August 2009

Six leading trade associations have written to President Obama reminding him of the benefits of free trade for the US economy.

While recognizing the importance of providing assistance to workers in industries dislocated because of trade, the leaders of the six associations also emphasized that trade and trade agreements are not the major cause of job loss in America.

“As the world’s largest exporter of goods and services that is recording a USD21bn manufactured-goods surplus with our free-trade agreement partners, the United States benefits enormously from international engagement but also faces steep challenges, both from other countries’ barriers and those here at home,” the letter stated.

“In order to grow our economy, ensure good-paying jobs for Americans, enhance our national security and renew our country’s leadership position in the world, the United States cannot stand still in the international economic sphere. Rather, we need to revitalize our export and international trade leadership by moving forward actively on multilateral, regional and bilateral market-opening opportunities,” the letter added.

In addition to pressing for passage of the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, the associations urged the president to pursue “major market-opening agreements with the Asia-Pacific and beyond.”

“US companies and the millions they employ depend on robust trade and economic engagement with the world to sell the goods they produce and services they provide,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch, one of the signatories to the letter. “Taking action to strengthen our economic ties with other nations is vital and overdue, and we hope that President Obama will define and act on his vision of a bipartisan trade agenda in the coming weeks.”

The leaders of the Business Roundtable, the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the National Association of Manufacturers, the United States Council for International Business and the US Chamber of Commerce also signed the letter.

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