«A VALUES-DRIVEN TRADE POLICY U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL FROMAN FEBRUARY 18, 2014 Thank you, Neera, for that introduction. Thank you for all of ...»
Congress can take months to review the text of the agreement and have hearings on its full content and ultimately Congress has the power to approve or disapprove the proposed agreement.
Neither TPP nor T-TIP can go into effect without Congress’ approval.
Let me conclude by asking you to consider the results if we were to abandon the agenda I’ve laid out today.
First, we would lose the opportunities to create new, high-paying jobs through expanded exports that are so important to our economic recovery.
Other countries would get preferential access to some of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world at our expense.
Our firms would find themselves at a disadvantage, creating incentives for them to either drop out of the competition or move their production overseas to access those markets.
Second, we would not secure enforceable commitments on core labor standards and acceptable conditions of work.
Nor would we secure enforceable agreements on environmental standards and on shark finning, ivory trade, illegal timber and environmentally beneficial tariff cuts.
Rather, we would have the status quo at best in these areas; or we would cede the rule-setting to others for whom combatting wildlife trafficking and strengthening workplace safety are not priorities.
Third, we would limit both our ability to protect American invention, artistic creativity, and research, and our ability to develop creative ways to speed the flow of new medicines to patients and further the freedom of people to search, buy and create on the Internet.
Rather, we would see an accelerated rise of “data nationalism” and a digital world that begins to erect barriers rather than transcend them.
Right now, there are 525 million middle class consumers in Asia alone. By 2030, there are expected to 2.7 billion middle class consumers in Asia, more than 6 times the size of what the U.S. market is expected to be at that time.
Those consumers will want better diets and more protein.
They will want entertainment, games and software.
They will want to engage on the Internet and send packages all over the world.
They will want to save and invest for their families’ future.
They will want to breathe clean air, drink clean water and support a sustainable environment.
They will want clean energy products and equipment to build roads and schools.
They will want planes and trains and automobiles.
Who will provide these goods and services?
Who will serve these markets?
Will it be American workers, farmers and ranchers, or their competitors from other countries?
Will we have access to markets and terms on which we can compete, or will we be left on the sidelines?
Rest assured, other countries are not standing by and waiting for us to act.
They are busy negotiating their own deals, trying to gain preferential market access to countries, setting rules of the road that do not reflect our values.
And I can guarantee you that they do not put the emphasis we do on raising labor and environmental standards, protecting intellectual property rights, promoting access to innovation, preserving the freedom of the Internet or putting disciplines on state-owned enterprises.
We face a choice: Work to raise the bar or stay on the sidelines as other countries write the rules of the game.
Promote a race to the top or acquiesce to a race to the bottom which we cannot win and which our values tell us we should not run.
History tells us that there is an American tradition here.
We don’t passively stand by. We engage. We shape. We lead. That is precisely what we are doing right now.
We might not accomplish everything we set out to achieve. In any negotiation, no party gets 100 percent of what they seek on 100 percent of the issues 100 percent of the time.
But there is an arc to the evolution of the international trade policy.
With each negotiation, we have an opportunity to make progress toward a global trading system that increasingly reflects our values, ensures that the benefits of trade are broadly shared, and is more fair.
At the end of the day, we need to assess what the world will look like with and without TPP.
The world without TPP is a world with lower labor standards, weaker environmental protections and fewer opportunities for job growth in the U.S.
In my view, a world with TPP is a world that is in the interest of America’s workers and America’s families.
Our trade policy is directed toward creating jobs, promoting growth, and strengthening the middle class.
But that is not enough.
Americans demand more of their government and their trade policy.
After all, the United States is not just a business enterprise.
We are a nation of values.
Values born of history, tradition, and a shared understanding of what is right.
Values that underpin our laws, direct our relations with other countries and define who we are as a people.
The Obama Administration is setting a new standard, insisting that our values undergird our trade policy today and in the future.
In this effort, we have made important strides forward. And we have more to do.
With guidance from Congress and input from the public, we can create the better and fairer global economy that CAP has advocated for so consistently and which we all are working to make a reality.