Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to President Obama welcoming his announcement that the United States will pursue a Transatlantic agreement with the European Union (EU) and urging him "to seek the elimination of unnecessary trade and regulatory barriers in all sectors, including difficult areas like agriculture and services."
"American-made goods and services can thrive in a global economy when competing on a level playing field, and negotiations with the European Union offer us a new opportunity to give a much needed boost to American exporters," said Portman. "By reducing burdensome trade and regulatory barriers, I am hopeful that this new Transatlantic agreement will enable American companies to reach more markets, create jobs, and enhance innovation."
"A trade agreement with the European Union is a smart, next step to helping Florida become an even greater hub for international trade," said Nelson. "More broadly, it's not only going to create jobs, but it also will improve competition. And that will benefit American consumers here at home."
"This bold, new trade pact holds great promise for both the United States and Europe," said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. "The U.S. business community looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to ensure this agreement delivers growth and jobs for the benefit of all Americans. This letter, led by Senators Portman and Nelson, demonstrates the strong interest on Capitol Hill in the success of these negotiations."
This letter follows a similar effort led by Senator Portman and then-Senator John Kerry (D-MA) last year to express the Senate's strong support for negotiating a broad-based agreement with the EU. The 2012 letter was signed by Senators Portman, Kerry, Nelson and 17 of their colleagues.
Portman and Nelson were joined by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Dan Coats (R-IN), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Full text of the letter is below. You can read a signed copy of the letter here.
February 20, 2013
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We welcome your announcement that the United States will pursue a Transatlantic agreement with the European Union that reduces barriers to trade and investment.
As preparations for negotiations get underway, we urge you to take a comprehensive approach toward deepening Transatlantic trade and cross-border investment. We encourage you to seek the elimination of unnecessary trade and regulatory barriers in all sectors, including difficult areas like agriculture and services.
The United States and the European Union together form the world's largest single commercial relationship, valued at over $5 trillion, which includes robust trade in goods and services as well as earnings from bilateral investments. To increase investment, speed innovation and create more jobs, we need to move more aggressively to open new markets and innovate. We face new sources of competition from emerging markets around the world. As the global economy looks for concrete policies and actions to spur growth, now is the time to launch negotiations with this crucial trading partner.
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.
We look forward to working closely with you on this important priority.