Washington, D.C. — As our nation’s lawmakers begin debating major regional trade deals with both the Asia Pacific and Europe, the Center for American Progress today unveiled a set of principles to guide Congress and the Obama administration in their efforts to forge a new consensus on how trade can benefit American workers, American businesses, and our trading partners.
“The choices Congress makes in the coming months as they debate the future of trade have the potential to shape the U.S economy for decades to come,” said Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress. “In order to rebalance the U.S. trade deficit, rebuild our nation’s manufacturing base, and expand economic opportunity for all, we need to write better rules, make sure we enforce them, and ensure that we are creating the best possible environment for our workers and industry to compete at home and abroad.”
While trade can drive U.S. economic growth, the current global trading system is also a substantial contributor to the widening inequality that saps opportunities for individuals and growth potential for the U.S. economy overall. The principles outlined by CAP are substantive ways to make sure that new trade agreements are in the best interests of the U.S. economy and fall under the three categories.
Provide enforceable standards for fair competition. Many rules of the international trading system are still lacking in key respects and have not evolved to keep pace with a changing world economy. In order to improve the outcomes America reaps from new trade agreements, we must address currency manipulation and competition from state-owned enterprises, revise investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, and establish high-road labor and environmental standards.
Increase commitments to enforce the hard-fought rules of trade agreements. If the United States is going to spend years negotiating trade agreements, it is critical to put equal energy into enforcing those agreements. To this end, CAP proposes doubling funding for U.S. trade enforcement bodies, making trade enforcement more automatic, transparent, and expeditious.
Substantially expand investments in the sources of U.S. competitiveness. To improve American competitiveness, lawmakers must invest in economic competitiveness. Investing in the three key pillars of competitiveness—research, education, and infrastructure—will ensure the nation’s long-term economic success.