Promoting an Open Trading System
In a world where over 96% of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, the Nation’s domestic economic growth is predicated on our success in expanding trade with other nations.
Since 1993, the President has negotiated over 300 distinct trade agreements. Prominent among these have been the following, which have resulted in declining unemployment, rising standards of living, and robust economic growth in the United States:
• The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which institutionalized our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA created the world’s largest free trade zone, expanded trade among its three signatories by over 85%, and generated increased U.S. exports to both Mexico and Canada. Mexico and Canada now take nearly 40% of U.S. exports.
• The Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which created the WTO and created, or substantially expanded, multilateral trade rules and commitments to cover agriculture, services, and intellectual property rights. The WTO has been instrumental in assisting transition economies to progress from centrally planned to market economies and promoting growth and development in poor countries. The United States continuously leads accession negotiations with countries who are seeking WTO membership and who are willing to meet its high standards of market access and rules-based trading.
• Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, which will provide American farmers, businesses, and industries with market access to the world’s most populous nation.
We have consistently advocated trade liberalization with our values in mind, ensuring that increased trade advances, rather than weakens, the rights of workers and the health of the environment.
NAFTA was historic because it mandated environmental and labor protections; it was the first trade agreement to explicitly create the link between trade liberalization and the protection of labor rights and the environment. History was again made this year when the United States entered into a Free Trade Agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Language in the agreement ensures that liberalization of trade between both nations, the protection of labor rights, and safeguarding the environment are mutually supportive.
The United States ensured that the WTO preamble established environmental protection as an overall objective of the parties to the agreement. In November of 1999, the President issued an executive order on Environmental Reviews of Trade Agreements, an order requiring careful environmental analysis of major new trade agreements. The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Council on Environmental Quality oversee the implementation of the order, ensuring that promoting trade and protecting the environment go hand-in-hand.
Numerous regional economic partnerships also facilitate global trade. In addition to NAFTA, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), the President’s trade and investment initiative in Africa, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership, and negotiations to create the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by 2005 promote open trade in other economic trading regions critical to our national security. With the enactment of the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act of 2000 and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000, the United States set out to deepen and widen its regional economic relationships.
A Congressional grant of “fast track” authority to the President would enhance his ability to break down foreign trade barriers in a timely manner. “Fast track” promotes American prosperity, just as it expedites domestic job creation and economic growth.
Enhancing American Competitiveness
Gaining the full benefit of more open markets requires an integrated strategy that maintains our technological advantages, promotes American exports abroad, and ensures that export controls intended to protect our national security do not unnecessarily make U.S. high technology companies less competitive globally.
We will continue to support a vigorous science and technology base that promotes economic growth, creates high-wage jobs, sustains a healthy, educated citizenry, and provides the basis for our future military systems. We will continue to foster the open interchange of people and ideas that underpins our scientific and technological enterprise. We will invest in education and training to develop a workplace capable of participating in our rapidly changing economy. And, we will invest in world-class transportation, information, and space infrastructures for the 21st century.
The Administration created America’s first national export strategy, working with the private sector to reform the way government and business cooperate to expand exports. The Trade Promotion Coordination Committee has been instrumental in improving export promotion efforts, coordinating our export financing, implementing a government-wide advocacy initiative, and updating market information systems and product standards education.
This export strategy is working, and the United States has regained its position as the world’s largest exporter. While our strong export performance has supported millions of new, export-related jobs, we must export more in the years ahead if we are to further strengthen our trade balance position and raise living standards with high-wage jobs.
Enhanced Export Control
The United States is a world leader in high technology exports, including satellites, cellular phones, computers, information security, and commercial aircraft. Some of this technology has direct or indirect military applications, or may otherwise be used by states or transnational organizations to threaten our national security. For that reason, the United States Government carefully controls high technology exports by placing appropriate restrictions on the sale of goods and technologies that could impair our security. Imposing these controls recognizes that, in an increasingly competitive global economy, where there are many non-U.S. suppliers, excessive restrictions will not limit the availability of high technology goods. Rather, they serve only to make U.S. high technology companies less competitive globally, thus losing market share and becoming less able to produce cutting-edge products for the U.S. military and our allies.
Our current export control policy recognizes that we must balance a variety of factors. On the one hand, our policies must promote and encourage the sale of our most competitive goods abroad, while on the other, they must ensure that technologies that facilitate proliferation of F do not end up in the wrong hands. Our policies therefore promote high technology exports by making dual-use license decisions more transparent, predictable, and timely through a rigorous licensing process administered by the Department of Commerce at the same time that we ensure a thorough review of dual-use applications by the Departments of Defense, State, and Energy. Any agency that disagrees with a proposed export can enter the issue into a dispute resolution process that, if necessary, may ultimately rise to the President for adjudication. As a result,
Promoting an Open Trading System