Washington, D.C. – In response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night, Sabina Dewan, Director of Globalization and International Employment at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
President Obama’s call for concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership and for launching negotiations on a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are welcome steps for raising growth and creating jobs. Together they would cover more than 50 percent of world trade.
How the administration chooses to address issues like agricultural subsidies and regulatory standards in the new transatlantic agreement and labor protections and state-owned enterprises in the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be of the utmost importance. These agreements will set the standard for global trade rules in the 21st century. If done right, they could bring vast benefits to the United States and the entire global economy.
These regional agreements represent an important step but one that should not come at the expense of efforts to negotiate a new multilateral trade agreement. Despite the increasing number of regional trade agreements, nearly 85 percent of world trade still occurs at tariff rates negotiated at the multilateral level. In an era of global value chains and closer integration, a new multilateral agreement under the auspices of the World Trade Organization is the best tool available to try to sustain a fair global playing field.