April 15, 2013


The President's Free-Trade Path to Prosperity : A new accord with the U.S. brings Japan one step closer to joining the game-changing Trans-Pacific Partnership. ( TOM DONILON, 4/15/13, WSJ)

With the worst of the economic crisis behind us, the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan winding down, the U.S. is regaining the freedom of maneuver that allows us to make a set of strategic investments in our future. As the president's second term begins, the U.S. is at the center of two trade initiatives across the Atlantic and Pacific with the potential to encompass 60% of world trade. Just as our security alliances across two oceans have brought stability that extends far beyond our treaty partners, U.S. economic diplomacy today can advance global prosperity by strengthening the international rules and norms that make trade and growth possible.

To start, the U.S. is deepening economic engagement in an Asia-Pacific region where economic rules of the road are still taking shape. Nearly half of all growth outside the U.S. over the next five years is expected to come from Asia, and the choices that nations across the region make now will shape the character of the entire global system for years to come.

The economic linchpin of the multidimensional U.S. rebalancing strategy is the Trans-Pacific Partnership that the U.S. is negotiating with Asia-Pacific economies from Chile and Peru to New Zealand and Singapore. This TPP agreement is built on its members' shared commitment to high standards, comprehensive market access for goods and services exports, disciplines for 21st-century trade issues and respect for a rules-based trade and investment framework.

We always envisioned the TPP as a growing platform for regional economic integration, open to additional countries willing and able to meet its high standards. Under President Obama, the original seven TPP nations have grown to include Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada and Mexico. The TPP was already as ambitious as any trade negotiation in the world. Now we have completed bilateral work with Japan. This is an important step toward Japan joining TPP negotiations. A TPP that includes Japan, the world's third-largest economy, would represent an annual trading relationship of $1.7 trillion and a strong regional constituency for shared economic values.

A key attribute of the TPP is that it can get done in a timely fashion. The U.S. is working hard with the other parties to complete negotiations in 2013. Alongside the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and U.S. participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the East Asia Summit, it will serve as a powerful statement of American engagement and staying power in East Asia.

Even as the U.S. is reaching to the east, we are also pursuing a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or T-TIP, to deepen ties with our largest and longest-standing trading partners in Europe.

The 2012 election only mattered because someone is going to get political credit for these peace dividends, as Bill Clinton did in the 90s.

Posted by at April 15, 2013 5:27 AM

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