ATR President Grover Norquist and Director of State Affairs Patrick Gleason recently wrote an op-ed in Reuters discussing the benefits of free trade. Trade is hugely beneficial to the entire US economy and will create more jobs, higher wages, and strong economic growth. 

At present, the US is deep into negotiations on two agreements: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (with Asia) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership (with the EU). As Norquist and Gleason explain, completing these agreements will have strong and immediate benefits to the economy: 

“Trade supports one out of every five U.S. jobs, according to the Brookings Institution. Jobs tied to trade are more lucrative, paying 18 percent more, on average, than other occupations. European Commission analysis of a Center for Economic Policy Research study finds that approval of the European trade pact would raise wages for both high- and low-skill jobs.”

But in order for the US to have new trade agreements of any kind, Congress must pass Trade Promotion Authority. As the op-ed explains:

“The only way the agreements get done, however, is for Congress to approve trade-promotion authority, known as fast-track authority. With this, trade agreements negotiated by the White House go to Congress for an up-or-down vote and are not subject to amendments. Granting the president fast-track authority is the only way to get prospective trading partners to sit down for the time-consuming and complicated negotiations required to reach an agreement.”

Despite President Obama supporting free trade, Democrats in Congress have stubbornly opposed TPA. But as the op-ed notes, they do so at the disservice of their own states:

“Regardless of how much they distrust Obama or how much money they get from labor unions, any of the 68 Republicans and 29 Democrats in those congressional delegations who oppose giving the president fast-track authority would be doing their states a great disservice.”

See the full op-ed here