Original Press Release
NAM Encouraged By President Obama's Trade Policy Agenda
Press release date: March 2, 2009
"Pragmatic Agenda Can Benefit America's Manufacturers," says Vargo
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 2, 2009 - National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President for International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo issued the following statement in response to the release of President Obama's Trade Policy Agenda:
The agenda is a pragmatic one aimed at opening markets and improving the U.S. role in the world economy.
The Administration is reaching out to all stakeholders in framing its agenda, and since manufacturers account for over 90 percent of America's non-petroleum merchandise trade, we are looking forward to working with the Administration for an agenda that will benefit America's manufacturers and their workers.
The agenda takes a very pragmatic approach. For example, it talks about improving trade agreements rather than reopening them, and it calls for greater emphasis on seeing that small and medium-sized firms can become more effective exporters and competitors in the global economy - a very important goal for the NAM, the majority of whose members are small and medium-sized firms.
We were pleased to see that the agenda calls for correcting the current imbalance in the Doha Round, and seeking a strong and balanced market-opening outcome. The NAM has been pressing hard for such an approach and will work closely with the President's trade team to achieve that important goal.
We noted the agenda asserts the Administration's belief that the Panama trade agreement can move relatively quickly, and that benchmarks will be developed so there can be progress toward passage of the Colombia and Korea agreements as well. These agreements have been pending a long time, for every passing day costs us additional lost export potential. It is also very significant that the agenda calls for obtaining new "fast track" type trade negotiating authority after consultations with the Congress.
Also, it is very important that the agenda calls for strong and effective intellectual property protection. America's future competitiveness depends heavily on our technology and innovation, and its effective protection is one of the most essential parts of the NAM trade agenda.
All in all it is a pragmatic agenda and one we believe could benefit America's manufacturers. All of us at the NAM are eager to roll up our shirtsleeves and work with the President's new trade team and the Congress for an effective export policy.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.