Dennis Hightower, the recently confirmed Deputy Secretary of Commerce, gave a very strong pro-trade speech yesterday at Commerce’s “Trade North America” conference in Detroit (where NAM President John Engler also spoke). Excerpt:
I have only been on the job at the Commerce Department for a month, but that has given me plenty of time to identify one of the key challenges our department and the entire Obama administration faces:
Keeping trade flowing freely and fairly across our borders.
Canada and Mexico are our first and third largest trading partners—accounting for 32 percent of our total goods exports.
In North America, the U.S., Canada and Mexico—conduct nearly $2.7 billion dollars in trilateral goods trade each day.
Our economic prosperity and the jobs of millions of workers in North America depend on this trade relationship continuing to flourish.
But during these difficult economic times, we have inevitably seen a troubling rise in protectionist sentiment around the world.
Down that path lies more economic pain for us all.
Lots of good comments also regarding export controls and intellectual property protections.
So we have the Administration in favor of trade, Majority Leader Hoyer today once against endorsing Panama and Colombia trade agreements, and a big Democratic majority in the Senate.
Why the delay?
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