Business group calls for dynamic global trade policy
12 January 2005
WASHINGTON - In a white paper released today, Business Roundtable called on Congress and the Bush Administration to continue the nation’s history of economic growth through liberalized trade and investment policies by pursuing a vigorous international trade agenda for 2005.
Entitled “2005: A Crossroads for U.S. International Trade Policy,” the document indicates that freer commerce among the economies of the world should be a priority for United States political leaders.
"The United States is at a crossroads," said Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and chairman, Business Roundtable International Trade and Investment Task Force. "Our continued economic leadership cannot be taken for granted in this increasingly competitive global economy. Liberalized trade and investment policies have proven to be the surest path to growth and prosperity for American business and workers, and have brought demonstrable benefits to our trading partners."
McGraw said that one of Business Roundtable’s top public policy priorities for the coming year will be to support a U.S. trade agenda that emphasizes continued trade liberalization. "Business Roundtable urges Congress to continue its historic commitment to fostering opening markets and commerce among nations, which serves both our economic and geopolitical interests," he concluded.
He noted that Business Roundtable will pursue an aggressive advocacy campaign in support of four critical trade policy issues that the United States must address in 2005:
- The United States must approve continued U.S. participation in the World Trade Organization. The President and the Congress must work together to ensure that the United States remains committed to the WTO. During this country’s almost 10 years of membership in the WTO, and 47 years under its predecessor the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), international trade and investment have provided overwhelmingly positive economic benefits for American business, workers and consumers. A clear-defined rules-based international trading system is vital to U.S. interests and will encourage international economic development and investment.
- The United States must renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA will expire in 2005 unless Congress acts to renew a presidential request for an extension. TPA is a vital tool for strengthening our nation’s ability to negotiate and approve beneficial trade agreements. American workers and businesses rely upon the President’s ability to use TPA to open overseas markets to American goods and services. If we allow TPA to lapse in 2005, we will be forced again to watch from the sideline as our trading partners gain competitive advantages through trade agreements to which we are not a party.
- The United States must approve and implement the DR-CAFTA and the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement. In 2005, the Administration must present DR-CAFTA and the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement to Congress for approval. DR-CAFTA will provide tangible economic benefits for the United States and encourage and deepen positive economic and political developments in Central America. The U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement will reinforce an important commercial relationship with a key Middle Eastern ally.
- The United States must lead the WTO Doha Round negotiations. The United States must lead the Doha Round negotiations as they come to a close in 2005. A successful Doha Round offers unrivaled opportunities to lower foreign trade barriers and increase U.S. access to international markets throughout the world. If the United States does not take the lead, others will — with inferior results.
In addition to the four priority areas, Business Roundtable is supportive of the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, and further progress in U.S. trade talks with the Southern African Customs Union, the Andean nations, Thailand and Panama.
A copy of the paper is available at www.businessroundtable.org.
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading corporations with a combined work force of more than 10 million employees in the United States and $4 trillion in annual revenues. The chief executives are committed to advocating public policies that foster vigorous economic growth, a dynamic global economy, and a well-trained and productive U.S. workforce essential for future competitiveness.