Does the Government Shutdown Affect the U.S. Trade Agenda?

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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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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5 Responses to Does the Government Shutdown Affect the U.S. Trade Agenda?

  1. Kim says:

    Well said. I hope you consider writing this piece as an op-ed for other publications.

  2. Garry R Moore says:

    Clearly, the US political theatre going on in Wshdc regarding the US debt ceiling at the very least is a distraction for the US admin regarding the trade agenda and at worse it has the potential to lower trade agreements as a central US objective

    In both Asia and the EU this US political theatre will cause nations to questions the US government commitment and ability to both reach and ratify trade agreements

    At a time when the international trading systems needs US leadership the US players are off in a corner of the school yard fighting each other – not great optics

    Moore, Garry R – Solutions Inc

    • Dr. Sarita D. Jackson says:

      Hi Garry. I could not agree with you more. This is truly a distraction that impacts the potential for economic gain through free trade and our political relationships with other countries that are a part of the current free trade negotiations. What an interesting analogy that you bring up. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Radu says:

    I just hope there won’t be a new recession starting from the US and then spreading all across the globe…
    Radu recently posted…Fix My Back Pain ReviewMy Profile

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