America’s Capacity to Lead Globally Begins with Our Economic Vitality at Home

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 23, 2015
Secretary Kerry delivers remarks on “Trade and National Security: Renewing U.S. Leadership Through Economic Strength” at the Atlantic Council

“We have an opportunity before us to shape and to elevate the global rules of trade for decades to come. In Congress, prominent leaders from both parties are poised to open that door. It is vital that we walk through it together,” Secretary of State John Kerry underscored this morning at an Atlantic Council event in Washington, DC.

In his remarks, which highlighted the importance of U.S. leadership in the global economy, Secretary Kerry shared his two-fold convictions on the issue:

  • “First, in the modern world, we simply cannot expect our economies to grow and generate new jobs if we all do is buy and sell to ourselves.  Trade is a job creator, period – and the record of the past five years, the past twenty years, and the past hundred years or more bears that out.  As I speak, exports support an estimate 11.7 million American jobs and that number is only going up. Look, ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers are beyond our borders.  If for some reason we decide not to do business with them, our economy will gradually wither and shrink -- and we will see boarded up windows and 'going out of business' signs from one end of America to another.  Embracing globalization can be hard -- but trying to pretend it doesn’t exist would be catastrophic.”
  • "The United States should be deeply engaged in helping to write the rules for trade. Failure to do this would be a felony against the future of our own economy.  We must be engaged because if we don’t protect our interests, no one else is going to -- and because we have learned from past experience to insist on tightly written and enforceable standards on the issues that we care about most. That’s why it’s so important that these lessons are the very center of the bipartisan bill now being considered by Congress and of the high-standard trade negotiations currently underway.”

Secretary Kerry emphasized that the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act proposal goes well beyond any previous measure of its type, saying  “It says to our trading partners that they have to comply with core international labor and environmental standards; they have to fight trade-related bribery and corruption; they have to color within the lines on intellectual property rights; they have to enable legitimate digital trade; and they have to accept effective dispute settlement mechanisms to ensure that promises made are promises kept.”

He underscored that America’s capacity to lead globally begins with our economic vitality here at home saying, “We’ve got to keep generating new jobs. And we’ve got to ensure that American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses receive equitable treatment. We can’t do that by sitting on the side of the road while other countries write the rules of the road for world trade.”

The economic case for TPP and T-TIP, Secretary Kerry urged, is overwhelming. "The right kind of trade agreements are critical because they create habits of cooperation that help us not only economically but in everything else we are determined to do." T-TIP will enable us to take further advantage of the combined economic muscle of the U.S. and Europe, thereby serving as a strategic pillar of the Trans-Atlantic Community.  The TPP is one way to guarantee that our ties in the Asia Pacific region grow even stronger, while serving to reassure all of our allies that America’s commitment to the region is both deeply-rooted and long-term.

“Ultimately, trade issues cannot be separated from larger questions about America’s global leadership or about the choices yet to be made by our generation," Secretary Kerry concluded. "If we retreat on trade, our influence on the global economy will diminish.  And if our economic stature is in doubt, our ability to deliver on defense and political challenges will be increasingly questioned.  In our era, the economic and security realms are integrated; we simply can’t pull back from one without diminishing our role in the other.  We must be fully engaged in each.”

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