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Obama's Trade Agenda Sent To Congress

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The U.S. Trade Representative has sent Congress President Barack Obama's 2010 trade agenda, which calls for a number of efforts to expand exports and stronger enforcement of U.S. trade rights. The heart of the agenda is President Obama's goal of doubling exports over the next five years and creating two million jobs.

The report does not call for any legislation by Congress other than approval of the pending free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea and extension of the General System of Trade Preferences. It does not address any problems with imports other than to say the United States will work to fully enforce its trade rights, and it will take cases to the World Trade Organization when it believes those rights are being violated.

Pointing out that 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside of the United States, Kirk said the president's trade agenda will help get U.S. workers and businesses access to as many of those customers as is possible. "The priorities of this agenda can work to strengthen the rules-based global trading system on which the nations of the world depend, while opening markets and ensuring that American businesses and workers receive the economic benefits of trade," Kirk said. 

The report calls for the United States to continue its support and leadership in connection with the Doha Round of trade liberalization negotiations, which it says would create jobs here at home while helping less developed nations enjoy the economic benefits of trade.

The report says the Obama administration will "increase its focus on attacking non-tariff barriers to trade" and promises that the United States will "fully enforce" labor and environmental rights in trade agreements.

In conclusion, the far-ranging report says, "A trade policy focused on the opportunities for increasing American exports and jobs, on opening markets and boosting innovation and based on the principles of a rules-based trading system can contribute powerfully to the President's economic agenda for America."

March 2, 2010