This morning, President Obama made it official this morning when he announced the nomination of Michael Froman to serve as United States Trade Representative (USTR).
Mr. Froman’s plate will be full as our global challenges mount with ongoing weakness in the global economy. However, these are issues that he has keenly been aware of in his position as deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs and in his prior work in and out of the government over the past two decades. Mr. Froman’s experience in international trade and with senior foreign government officials should be a strong asset as he becomes the lead trade official for the United States.
Trade is a vital issue for manufacturers as 95 percent of consumers live outside the United States. Opening new markets and leveling the playing field is critical for manufacturers’ success in creating more opportunities for the 12 million men and women who make things here, as well as for their communities and our economy.
Topping our list of action items:
First, market-opening trade and investment agreements. Recently, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons laid out manufacturers’ goals for ongoing trade negotiations, and we remain hopeful that these talks can achieve the robust outcomes that are necessary to spur growth and innovation.
Second, the protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights globally. Manufacturers’ concerns over the theft of IP grow by the day. Challenges remain strong in India and China and in other parts of the world. If left unchallenged, these threats to IP protection will destroy manufacturers’ ability to compete—and compete fairly.
These are just two big issues that we must address as a nation. Manufacturers need action on a robust trade and investment agenda, and we stand ready to work with Mr. Froman to tackle these challenges in the days ahead.
Linda Dempsey is vice president of international economic affairs, National Association of Manufacturers.