Chamber Pushes Ahead on Trade
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Despite a difficult political environment, the U.S. Chamber is forging ahead with a free and fair trade agenda to create new export and foreign investment opportunities for U.S. businesses.
"The path ahead for the 2008 trade agenda is uncertain and fraught with great difficulty, but progress is possible," LTG (Ret.) Dan Christman, senior vice president, International Affairs, said at the Chamber's Next Steps for the American Trade Agenda conference in January.
Also speaking at the conference was U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who promised a major push by the administration to win congressional approval of pending free trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. "A 'no' vote is a vote against U.S. exporters, manufacturers, service providers, and agricultural producers," she said. Christman noted that U.S. markets are almost entirely open to imports from the three countries, yet U.S. producers face double-digit tariffs in Colombia and South Korea. The pending trade agreements would level the playing field.
Schwab also said that the administration remains committed to multilateral trade deal negotiations. "We know that we need to do our share when it comes to tariff peaks and trade-distorting subsidies. We also know that there can be no successful Doha Round unless our developed and advanced developing country trading partners also make meaningful contributions."
More than 12 million U.S. jobs are directly impacted by trade and U.S. foreign investment-millions more indirectly. U.S. exports and imports equal about a third of U.S. gross domestic product. However, just 59% of Americans say that trade is good for the economy. "Our challenge is to educate the public and elected officials on the benefits of trade," Christman added.