This has been a landmark week for furthering the President’s trade agenda. Congress passed bipartisan legislation that sets a high bar for our trade negotiations, spurs sustainable economic development, trains American workers, and improves the enforcement of our trade laws to support American manufacturing. Each of these initiatives is an integral part of using trade to unlock opportunity for America’s middle class and strengthen our leadership abroad.
Through TPA, Congress has made clear what it expects in terms of high-standard trade agreements. With this guidance, Congress has given us its marching orders to move forward with our negotiations.
Our preference programs—AGOA, GSP, and HOPE—not only promote sustainable and inclusive development abroad, but also encourage the rise of markets for “Made-in-America” exports that support good jobs here at home.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been the cornerstone of our trade relationship with Africa for 15 years. Its improvement and renewal for a 10 year period, the longest ever in the program’s history, will incentivize good governance and pro-growth, pro-development policies, including on labor and human rights, while providing much-needed certainty for African producers, U.S. buyers, and investors.
Renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which lapsed in July 2013, will promote economic growth in the developing world by eliminating duties on a wide range of products from developing countries, including some of the poorest countries in the world. GSP will also support U.S. jobs, help keep American manufacturers competitive, and benefit American families by lowering prices on many consumer goods.
The Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act supports thousands of jobs in Haiti’s textile and garment sectors, while providing important protections to workers. Early extension of this program will provide the necessary stability and continuity for companies to continue investing in Haiti’s future.
Trade Adjustment Assistance helps ensure that American workers have the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century global economy by providing essential job-training and other job-related assistance. I also look forward to Congress finalizing and passing strong trade enforcement legislation in the coming days that will provide robust tools to deal with unfair trading practices that harm U.S. businesses and American workers.
With this package in hand, we can move forward with the most ambitious, highest-standard trade agenda in history, open markets and level the playing field so that American workers and small businesses can successfully compete, and shape tomorrow’s global economy so that it reflects both our interests and our values.
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