Proposal would create largest free-trade area

If there were ever a way devised to promote economic growth, add jobs, expand markets, promote common interests and avert traditional wars without costing taxpayers a penny or adding to budget deficits, the United States should be first in line to embrace it.

Senators, are you listening?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposal born from the economic crisis, would create the world’s largest free-trade area, aligning the United States with 28 European Union member states. And while each country has its own unique identity, EU Ambassador to the U.S. JoCo Vale de Almeida explains the TTIP is really a “negotiation among equals” considering the nations’ similar democratic systems, economies and approaches to industrial and workplace standards.

By aligning, the United States and European Union would not only remove obstacles to trade but would also strengthen participants’ “position in the world,” allowing them to establish high standards for themselves as well as emerging economies.

At a base level it could, for example, open up European markets for U.S. meat. At a higher level it could include finding alternatives to Russian gas, enforcing standards to combat climate change, protecting intellectual property rights and using economic strength rather than military might to project power.

“If we get our act together, if we are able to agree on a set of rules and principles, our capacity to influence the rest of the world will be enormous,” Vale de Almeida says.
“If we want to promote economic growth, this is a cheap way to do it. It doesn’t cost any public money, it doesn’t add to budget deficits, it doesn’t add to debt. It just opens up opportunities for business and investment.”

America is considered the land of opportunity. In the 21st century, the chance to align with like-minded countries to address myriad economic, environmental and security issues is too good to pass up.

A fifth round of TTIP talks between the United States and the European Union started Monday in Arlington, Va., and will run through Friday.

This foreign policy matter is too important to attempt to “lead from behind.” Strong U.S. leadership is needed to make sure this is a win-win for both sides of the Atlantic.

— Albuquerque Journal