February 23, 2012

Portman, 19 Senators Support Ambitious Trade Agenda with Europe

Ask President Obama to Remove Transatlantic Commerce, Investment Barriers

Washington, DC – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), a former U.S. Trade Representative, and 17 senators from both parties, wrote to President Obama today asking him to help remove unnecessary barriers to transatlantic commerce and investment.  The letter comes on the heels of meetings between senior U.S. and European Commission trade officials this week to discuss our deepening transatlantic commercial relationship.

“Additional growth could follow from addressing regulatory barriers, reducing tariffs to zero where possible, expanding trade in services, negotiating an investment agreement, and further opening up our public procurement markets to each other,” they wrote in the letter.

The full text of the letter is below and attached.

 

     February 22, 2012

 

The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

 
We commend the establishment of the High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth that you and Presidents Van Rompuy and Barroso agreed to at the November 28, 2011, United States-European Union Summit in Washington.  We urge the leaders of the Working Group, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, to quickly formulate ambitious proposals to remove unnecessary barriers to transatlantic commerce and investment.  Strengthening our economic ties will create new opportunities for American businesses and workers.
 
The United States and the European Union, who together form the world’s largest single commercial relationship valued at over $4 trillion, face continuing fiscal challenges to spur economic growth.  To attract investment and create jobs at home, we need to continue to open new markets and innovate, as we face new sources of competition from emerging markets around the world.  As we take steps to create the conditions for sustained future economic growth, we should make increased trade and investment with the European Union a priority.
 
While the United States and European markets are already highly integrated through trade, investment and foreign sales of our companies, even small steps will generate significant new economic opportunities and growth.  For example, a study by the European Center for International Political Economy has demonstrated that by eliminating the already low tariffs on transatlantic trade in goods, the United States and the EU could boost their combined Gross Domestic Product by $180 billion in five years.  Additional growth could follow from addressing regulatory barriers, reducing tariffs to zero where possible, expanding trade in services, negotiating an investment agreement, and further opening up our public procurement markets to each other.
 
We look forward to working closely with you to achieve the full economic potential of the transatlantic economic relationship, and we believe such efforts can create new opportunities for our businesses and workers and strengthen our leadership in the global economy.

Sincerely,

 

Democrats

John Kerry

Mark Warner

Jeanne Shaheen

Thomas Carper

Ron Wyden

Bill Nelson

 

Republicans

Rob Portman  

Mike Johanns  

Scott Brown  

Saxby Chambliss

Richard Burr

Johnny Isakson

Roy Blunt  

John Boozman

Roger Wicker

Pat Roberts   

Jeff Sessions

Bob Corker

Daniel Coats

Marco Rubio