President Barack Obama has said that his top priority in any trade negotiation is to expand the opportunity for Americans and take leadership of the global economy. Obama’s comments came as Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch and senators Ron Wyden and Paul Ryan introduced the bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation which was also hailed by the country’s fashion industry.
“It’s no secret that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to their promise, and that’s why I will only sign my name to an agreement that helps ordinary Americans get ahead. At the same time, at a moment when 95 per cent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we must make sure that we, and not countries like China, are writing the rules for the global economy,” Obama said.
The TPA bill comes as the two most ambitious trade negotiations in the nation’s history – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) – are underway to further tear down trade barriers to American goods and services. According to World Bank data, these two trade agreements together would further open markets encompassing nearly 1.3 billion customers and approximately 60 per cent of global GDP product. TPA lapsed in 2007 and is needed for the US to successfully conclude these negotiations.
Secretary of State John Kerry joined Obama in congratulating the three-member panel for providing a framework that would allow the US and its global partners to complete two of the most significant trade agreements in American history, the TPP and the T-TIP that together will encompass nearly two-thirds of the global economy. “The US must remain a leader in global trade, and not run the risk of being left on the sidelines while others set the course. I urge Congress to pass TPA without delay,” Kerry said.
The US Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) has hailed the introduction of the TPA. “Trade Promotion Authority is essential for the conclusion of high-standard, 21st-century trade agreements,” says Julia K Hughes, president of USFIA. “The fashion industry applauds the introduction of TPA and urges Congress to pass the legislation as soon as possible so we can see the swift conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other key trade negotiations,” Hughes was quoted as saying by the USFIA website.
The passage of TPA will allow the Obama Administration to conclude the TPP, a potentially groundbreaking agreement for fashion brands and retailers doing business in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as create ambitious trade policy for the future, such as the TTIP, a historic trade negotiation with Europe.
American clothing major Gap has also applauded the TPA. “TPA is key to making sure US companies and workers get the best possible outcomes in trade agreements,” said Sonia Syngal, executive vice president of Gap’s global supply chain and product operations. (SH)
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India