Consensus bursts out on trade

1) “If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores.”

2) “Expanding markets for American goods and services will help create jobs in the U.S. and strengthen our economy.”

3) “Every day these agreements languish, American-made goods and services face unnecessary tariffs and other trade barriers — costing Americans market access and jobs here at home.”

4)“The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement…fosters prosperity and stability in Asia and enhances our economic and national security.”

5) “The Colombia Free Trade Agreement will increase U.S. exports, create good- paying jobs here at home and help cement our leadership in opening global markets.”

6) “Panama is an important strategic ally in our hemisphere, and the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement will provide new markets and opportunities for U.S. exporters.”

7) “By boosting exports and opening foreign markets to U.S. businesses, these agreements will benefit U.S. workers and contribute to economic growth in the U.S. at a time when it is sorely needed.”

Stumped? The answers are given below, but that’s not the point. The point is, when House Speaker Boehner and House Democratic Whip Hoyer are finishing one another’s sentences, we have arrived at what is known as a consensus.

And what is the consensus? That the United States needs to approve the pending trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama now — within the next few weeks. That we need to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance, the Andean Trade Preferences, and the Generalized System of Preferences.

There will be disputes in the weeks ahead about the sequence and linkages among the three agreements and the three lapsed trade programs. We must keep them in perspective. We can’t let them stand in the way of a breakthrough on trade that has been a long time coming.

We have a chance in the weeks ahead to create American jobs, reaffirm vital alliances, and show that the United States can still lead. Let’s seize it — now — with both hands.

Answers: President Obama, House Speaker Boehner, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady, and (jointly) Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch.

John Murphy is the Vice President of International Affairs for the United States Chamber of Commerce.


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