GA Trade Mar-Apr interactive - page 27

Obama’s International Role
When it comes to international trade,
a lot of things are happening right
now on both sides of the Atlantic.
For the President, the most import
agenda item is the Trade Promotion
Authority (TPA). Also known as
“fast track” trade legislation, TPA
would allow Obama to submit trade
deals to Congress for a straight
up-or-down vote without any
amendments. Not only could this
speed up the negotiation process,
but also strengthen his political
power in- and outside the U.S. The
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will
serve as a litmus test for TPA and
will be an indicator of what we can
expect for other trade agreements.
Beyond the more bureaucratic
aspects of trade, we must not
overlook the fact that foreign
companies play an important role in
securing and creating jobs. Germany
is one of the U.S.’ largest trading
partners, and the successful conclu-
sion of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership (TTIP) is
important to companies on both
sides. At present, companies are
forced to certify their products and
services on both sides of the Atlantic
or even build two different produc-
tion lines for the same product, e.g.
due to safety regulations. These are,
in many cases, avoidable costs.
Barack Obama still has some time to
shape his legacy in the final years
of his presidency. International trade
might not be the top issue for the
President. His focus is on the United
States and the American people. The
midterm elections are ahead and
will set the tone for his actions.
However, the President would be
remiss to not see the tremendous
impact trade can have on domestic
jobs and welfare.
n
About the Author
Kevin Heidenreich is the Deputy
Representative in the office of the
Representative of German Industry
and Trade (RGIT) in Washington, DC.
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