In the Media – Trade deal faces pressure from labor and environmental groups

Ambassador Oxley warned last week that organized labor and environmental groups threaten to derail the free trade agreement being negotiated through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP).

In an editorial for Roll Call, Ambassador Oxley highlighted the importance of President Obama’s free trade agenda with the Asia Pacific community. However Ambassador Oxley raised concerns that environmental and labor groups were pressuring the Obama Administration to use import controls that leverage governments in trading partner countries to adopt damaging environmental policies, such as restrictions on the importation of palm oil biofuels from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Oxley: The President Must Be Bold on Pacific Trade

Roll Call, editorial by Alan Oxley, 11 September 2012

While President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy has been criticized by his opponents, one area where he has shown leadership is on trade policy, specifically a free-trade area dubbed the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Negotiations have been under way for a year and will resume this month in Virginia.

The aim is to lay down a trans-Pacific framework to expand trade and investment. This goal has been embraced by trade and business groups. With long-term growth prospects in Europe looking bleaker, the construction of trans-Pacific pathways to free trade and investment has immense commercial logic for exporters.

In 2011, U.S. exports rebounded from the economic slump in 2010. Worldwide, they increased 20 percent, but to Asian economies they increased 30 percent to 35 percent. And while China’s economy is expected to slow, growth in Asia is still expected to lead the world for the next two decades at least.

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