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Obama Administration Releases 2012 Trade Agenda
March 6, 2012

By MacKenzie C. Babb
IIP Staff Writer

Portrait of a man
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says President Obama’s trade policy offers an “ambitious plan” to open new markets and bolster existing trade ties.


President Obama’s administration has released its plan to enhance U.S. participation in global trade during 2012 in a document that highlights the importance of enforcing a rules-based international trading system and sharing the benefits of trade more broadly around the world.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk prepared and released the 2012 Trade Policy Agenda and 2011 Annual Report, documents that by law must be delivered to Congress by March 1 of each year.

“Building on last year’s significant trade achievements, the Obama administration is moving full speed ahead in 2012 with ambitious initiatives to secure job-supporting trade opportunities and a level playing field” for firms of every size selling products and services around the world, Kirk said upon the report’s March 1 release.

The agenda outlines the administration’s key trade goals for the year, which include efforts to stay on track to meet Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

“Increasing exports is an important element of President Obama’s blueprint for an America built to last, where everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share and plays by the same set of rules,” Kirk said.

The document includes plans for implementing recent trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, as well as for concluding negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional trade agreement.

Representatives from the TPP nations are meeting for the 11th round of negotiations on the deal in Melbourne, Australia, March 1–9. The partnership agreement is meant to enhance trade, investment and economic growth in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.

Obama’s trade agenda also calls for enhanced enforcement efforts to investigate unfair trading practices around the world, and to hold all trading partners accountable for their commitments to comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. It also includes a plan to maintain American leadership at the WTO and in other forums to foster greater international trade liberalization.

The agenda’s opening says the document “offers a survey of how the administration will continue to support American jobs through exports and two-way trade, through enforcement of U.S. rights in a strong, rules-based trading system and through bolstered international trade relationships.” It adds that the policy includes building partnerships with developing countries to fight poverty and expand opportunity, as well as efforts to uphold the American values of transparency, openness and efficiency in building increased trade ties around the world.