A Worthy Trade Goal, But It Demands Serious Action

By August 2, 2010Trade

The New York Times explicates President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years and reports, “Hurdles Deter Obama’s Pledge to Double Exports.” 

Opening access to foreign markets, especially the fast-growing developing countries in Asia and South America, remains a politically touchy matter that will require the cooperation of Congress. A free-trade agreement with South Korea that was negotiated under President George W. Bush and that has been endorsed by Mr. Obama still awaits Congressional ratification, as do agreements with Colombia and Panama, and important issues remain unresolved in each.

Even more critical, by some measures, is the rising strength of the dollar, which increases the cost of American goods and makes them less competitive. The dollar has risen in value relative to the euro and the pound and remains overvalued, in the view of many economists, against China’s renminbi.

The story cites the NAM’s “Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years,” released last week, calling it a “detailed critique of United States trade policy.” The reporter then emphasizes currency issues, i.e., the relatively strong U.S. dollar and the Chinese’s valuation of its yuan, as an overriding factor. But as the Blueprint explains, it will take a broad array of action to achieve the goals outlined in the President’s National Export Initiative.

And some of those actions can be taken immediately, such as submission of the pending U.S. free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea to Congress for enactment.

The NAM released the trade paper last week with the support of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Coalition of Service Industries. Our joint news release is here.

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