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Selling the Benefits of TPP Key to Obama Administration’s 2016 Trade Policy Agenda

Posted March 03, 2016


The White House yesterday released President Obama’s 2016 Trade Policy Agenda, which it says is a continuation of the administration’s drive to “level the playing field for American workers, raise global trade standards, and enforce U.S. trade rights to promote economic growth, strengthen the American middle class, and support well-paying jobs at home.”

“The President’s trade agenda is focused on supporting U.S. jobs and raising wages,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “Over the past seven years, the Administration has fought hard to open the largest and fastest-growing markets to U.S. exports, most notably in the Asia-Pacific. Our efforts have helped position more Americans to compete—and win—in tomorrow’s global economy.”

Filled with snappy infographics and colourful illustrations, the 66-page document is clearly aimed at selling both Congress and the American public on the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership ahead of an upcoming push by the administration to have the sweeping trade deal ratified. “Trade is one of America’s longest-running bipartisan success stories,” Froman says in the report’s introduction. “This year, we have the opportunity to write the next chapter of that story. What we do together in the coming weeks and months will resonate for decades to come. We must do more than watch the future unfold. We must shape it.”

In addition to the TPP, the 2016 Trade Agenda outlines other key priorities in the United States bilateral and multilateral trade and investment relationships, including efforts to conclude the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Environmental Goods Agreement, the Trade in Services Agreement, and work to strengthen U.S. trade and investment ties with countries and regional partners around the world.

Finally, the report provides an overview of the Obama administration’s other major trade accomplishments, including:

  • Improving and securing passage of the Korea, Colombia, and Panama FTAs;
  • Bringing 20 enforcement cases at the WTO, more than any other country;
  • Working with Congress to update and renew bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority, and extending and improving Trade Adjustment Assistance;
  • Renewing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to promote developing in Africa and elsewhere;
  • And expanding the Information Technology Agreement, concluding the Trade Facilitation Agreement and rejuvenating the WTO negotiating process.

“With momentum on many fronts, from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to the Environmental Goods Agreement, we expect this to be an historic year for U.S. trade policy,” Froman said, summing up the report’s hopeful outlook.

Click here to download the report.