Treasury Notes

 Ten Former Treasury Secretaries Urge Passage of Trade Promotion Authority

By: Under Secretary for International Affairs Nathan Sheets
4/21/2015

 

Today, ten former U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury sent a letter to Congress calling for swift action to approve the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015,” also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which last week was introduced in Congress.  The former Secretaries said that such action would boost economic opportunities for American workers and businesses and reinforce U.S. economic leadership.

TPA provides clear direction to our trade negotiators to deliver high-standard, comprehensive trade agreements that create jobs and support American firms and exports.

Here is what this distinguished bipartisan coalition had to say on the direct economic benefits that TPA will help deliver through open international trade:

 

“Our support for open trade agreements is based on a simple premise: expanding the size of the market where American goods and services can compete on a level playing field is good for American workers and their families. Expanded international trade means more American jobs and higher American incomes.  It means greater access for American businesses to markets and consumers around the world, and it means lower prices for American families here at home.”

-          Former U.S. Treasury Secretaries Timothy F. Geithner, Henry M. Paulson, Jr., John W. Snow, Paul H. O'Neill, Lawrence H. Summers, Robert E. Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, James A. Baker, III, W. Michael Blumenthal, George P. Shultz

 

Beyond supporting our workers and firms, TPA will strengthen our hand as we forge future trade deals that support the middle class in a changing global economy.  As the Secretaries note in their letter, this legislation will also bolster our immediate goals of achieving the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – deals that span more than two-thirds of the global economy and represent major economic opportunity for American businesses and workers.

Finally, as Secretary Lew stated last week, we strongly agree with Congress – and with the Secretaries writing today – that no country should use unfair currency practices to gain advantage in international trade and that any such action must be addressed.  We have been working intensively with our international partners to move major economies to market-determined exchange rate systems that are transparent, flexible, and reflect underlying economic fundamentals.   We support the TPA legislation introduced by Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden, which includes a strong negotiating objective on currency.   And we’re committed to continuing to work with Congress to address currency issues in a way that is consistent with our overall strategy of bilateral and multilateral engagement.

 

Read the full text of the letter from all ten former Secretaries below: 


April 21, 2015​

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mitchell McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Harry Reid
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader Reid:


We write to express support for Congressional renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Our support for open trade agreements is based on a simple premise: expanding the size of the market where American goods and services can compete on a level playing field is good for American workers and their families. Expanded international trade means more American jobs and higher American incomes. It means greater access for American businesses to markets and consumers around the world, and it means lower prices for American families here at home. International trade, and the trade agreements that enable it, is happening and will continue to happen whether or not the United States participates. Our choice is to give American businesses and innovators the opportunity to share in the advantages those agreements provide or to remain outside the agreements and allow our competitors to benefit alone.

The enactment of TPA will directly improve our ability to complete trade initiatives that advance U.S. economic and geopolitical interests. The most immediate agreements are the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TPP will support the growth of U.S. exports to a fast-growing region that includes countries that represent nearly 40 percent of the global economy, and will bolster the strategic role of the United States as an economic leader within the Asia-Pacific region. The TTIP offers an opportunity to further cement our strong trading relationship with the European Union.

We agree that no country should use an undervalued currency to gain an unfair competitive advantage and grow its exports. The United States should continue to use multilateral and international mechanisms and diplomacy to prevent unfair currency manipulation. While the desirability of including currency manipulation in trade agreements can be debated, as a practical matter, it is impossible to get agreement on provisions that subject currency manipulation to trade sanctions in a manner that both the United States and other countries would find acceptable. Because we believe an agreement is strongly in the economic and security interests of the United States, we respectfully urge Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority.


Sincerely,


Timothy F. Geithner

Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

John W. Snow

Paul H. O'Neill

Lawrence H. Summers

Robert E. Rubin

Nicholas F. Brady

James A. Baker, III

W. Michael Blumenthal

George P. Shultz​


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Posted in:  International Trade
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