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Washington Outlook Archive

USTR Underscores Importance Of Enforcing Trade Agreements

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

In a major policy address, US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk announced a number of new trade initiatives being undertaken by the Obama administration that will place considerable emphasis on enforcing US trade remedy laws and world trade rules.

Kirk said Americans do not think the government has done enough to protect US trade rights, and, for that reason, enforcement "cannot be an afterthought. It needs to be the centerpiece of trade policy."

While underscoring the importance of trade agreements, Kirk said, "We must do more than just pursue new trade deals - we must insist on respect for our rights in the global trading system."

Addressing some of the issues being pursued by US textile industry lobbyists, Kirk said he believes one of the best ways to guarantee US trading rights is to "consistently monitor our partners' trade practices," and he said the administration will continue to use anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws, which he believes are "vitally important tools."

Kirk also called for renewed efforts to open overseas markets to US exports, saying that 95 percent of the world's customers live outside of the United States. He said even in the existing world trade climate, exports last year generated nearly $2 trillion in income for US farmers, manufacturers and producers of goods and services and that manufactured goods exports currently support 6 million jobs.

He said the said a new early warning system is being developed to identify barriers to trade and help his office to "nip them in the bud." He believes that can help save US jobs that might otherwise be lost.

July 21, 2009