By the third day of the government shutdown, I wrote about its impact on my ability to conduct research on international trade and provide a specific type of service to business owners as a part of my think tank/consulting firm Global Research Institute of International Trade. (See Government Shutdown Affects Trade Research and Services) Now, it is the seventh day of the government shutdown, and some of the events (or lack thereof) of this week show the shutdown’s effect on U.S. trade talks.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is scheduled for this week in Indonesia. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a possible trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries, was on the agenda for this week’s meeting. However, any ability to move forward with a discussion about the TPP will be difficult, since U.S. President Barack Obama canceled his APEC trip. Instead, President Obama will stay in Washington, D.C. to deal with the shutdown of the U.S. government. (See video below about APEC)
Furthermore, the second round of trade talks between the United States and the 28 member states of the European Union have also come to a halt. The US-EU trade negotiations, Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), were scheduled to take place this week in Brussels.
The government shutdown is threatening the current administration’s efforts to promote trade and double U.S. exports to the global market by 2015. Increasing U.S. productivity and competitiveness in the global economy will help the U.S. economy in terms of economic growth and employment.
The significance of the U.S. trade agenda leaves me perplexed about the motives of some members of the U.S. Congress resulting in the government shutdown. The GOP is supposedly the party of a free market economy and business. Yet, some in the party are willing to jeopardize the benefits of the free market and the ability for businesses to function all in the name of defunding the Affordable Care Act. While these members maintain a heated rhetoric against a Supreme Court approved law, the U.S. trade agenda and support for businesses have been put on ice.
The lyrics to an Alanis Morissette song, which came out in 1995, the same year as the government shutdown during the Clinton administration, are truly applicable today. “Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?”
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