- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Time right for new trade deals, CEOs say
Access to markets called vital for U.S. economy
Question of the Day
The United States should take advantage of a rare burst of momentum on the international trade front before it dissipates, a group of top American CEOs said Thursday.
Business Roundtable officials, in a briefing with reporters to discuss the group’s trade priorities, welcomed the recent news that the U.S. is negotiating a new trade deal with the European Union and said the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with a group of Pacific Rim trading partners could be nailed down by the end of the year.
“Expanding America’s access to international markets is, we think, vital to the U.S. economy, and in many respects the highest priority for Congress and the administration,” said John Engler, president of the Roundtable, which includes executives from some of the country’s biggest corporations. “We think that’s a sure way to strengthen the economy.”
U.S. exports now account for 14 percent of GDP and nearly half of those exports go to the country’s top 20 trading partners. President Obama in late 2010 announced a goal of doubling U.S. exports as a key part of the country’s recovery from the Great Recession.
In 2011, the Obama administration pushed through trade deals negotiated by the George W. Bush administration with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, but there have been no major new deals since Mr. Obama took office.
The business group said expanding trade was one area where Mr. Obama could find support from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.
“I think the president has a strong bipartisan majority in Congress on most trade issues,” Mr. Engler said. “As divided as the government is, when it comes to trade, we’ve gotten quite a few things done on a bipartisan basis. None of these were easy, but they did get done.”
That’s why it’s so important for Congress to give Mr. Obama the authority to negotiate trade deals with foreign countries, Mr. Engler said. This process, called “trade promotion authority,” allows the president to negotiate trade deals directly with other countries, with Congress only having an up-or-down vote on the final product.
“That’s something that I wish we didn’t have to keep renewing,” Mr. Engler said. “I wish we could have an authority that would be there for the president to have.”
Mr. Engler also said it’s important for the U.S. to get a new trade ambassador in the Cabinet. Ron Kirk, the former U.S. trade representative who oversaw the final negotiations with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, left the Cabinet in January.
“We need the person in place, and they need to get busy,” Mr. Engler said.
During his State of the Union address, Mr. Obama announced that the U.S. would begin negotiating a trade deal with the European Union.
Business Roundtable leaders said they are excited about the possibilities. The U.S. and EU account for 45 percent of the world’s GDP combined.
“It would be a win-win for jobs, for income and for growth on both sides of the Atlantic,” Mr. Engler said. “We’ve long thought this made sense.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dysfunction, disarray at Homeland Security management cited in IG's report
- GM's Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- Treasury sells last shares in 'Government Motors'
- U.S. businesses reach out quickly to partners in Iran
- General Motors ending Chevrolet sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized War College master's thesis: report
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- Hezbollah warring in Syria could join fight against Israel
- Despite rhetoric, gun prosecutions plummet under Obama
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq