President Obama Re-elected: What this means for the pursuit of free trade agreements

After all of the talk about China’s currency manipulation, expanding U.S. trade, signing new free trade agreements, investing in U.S. manufacturing and fair trade during the election cycle, the 2012 presidential election is finally over. President Barack Obama has been re-elected to another four years in office. What does this mean for the U.S. trade policy agenda?

One thing that we can expect is the signing of the United States’ largest free trade agreement (FTA)–Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement–which receives minimal attention in public debates about international trade.

The 15th round of the TPP will take place from December 3-12, 2012 in New Zealand. The TPP will promote economic integration between the United States and 10 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region. According to the Office of U.S. Trade Representatives, the TPP countries represent the 3rd largest export market in goods and 4th largest export market in services for the United States.

The signing and implementation of the TPP will benefit businesses as they are able to export their goods and services to the larger Asia-Pacific region without paying high tariffs and facing other barriers to trade. Increased productivity by those businesses have the potential to create new jobs. Consumers will benefit from less-expensive goods from some of the TPP countries. (For specific details, please visit the USTR website.)

In sum, we can expect President Obama to continue his efforts to expand U.S. trade throughout the world and access other markets for U.S. goods and services. Hopefully, we do not see the same fight in Congress over approval of the TPP that we saw in 2011 regarding the signed FTAs that the United States signed with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

See my earlier posts on the TPP and what it means for the United States and select states:

1. Sweet 16: A New NAFTA?

2. Larger Than NAFTA

3. How will another NAFTA affect North Carolina?


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About Dr. Sarita D. Jackson

is the President and CEO of the Global Research Institute of International Trade, a think-tank/consulting firm that examines trade policies and their impact on domestic businesses. Prior to heading GRIIT, Dr. Jackson was a tenured associate professor of political science in North Carolina and worked as a trade policy consultant for an Arlington-based consulting firm. She has participated in trade policy projects and conducted research on free trade negotiations in Botswana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama. Dr. Jackson has also traveled to Chile and Argentina to study their political systems and economic integration policies.
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