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Two Simple Trade Questions for USTR Froman; One Simple Trade Question for Senate Democrats

May 1, 2014

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will appear today at a Senate Finance Committee hearing concerning President Obama’s 2014 trade policy agenda. There are two simple questions he should answer:

  • When will President Obama negotiate a trade agreement to completion?
  • When will the president’s trade rhetoric match reality?

In relation to this hearing, there is an equally pressing question Senate Democrats must answer:

  • When will Senate Democrats act on President Obama’s request for Trade Promotion Authority?

Trade Promotion by the Numbers

  • 5: Number of State of the Union addresses in which President Obama requested Trade Promotion Authority or spoke of the job-creating benefits of increased international trade.
  • 0: Number of trade agreements President Obama has negotiated to completion.
  • 0: Number of times President Obama has persuaded Majority Leader Reid to bring a Trade Promotion Authority bill to a vote in the Senate.
  • “Every $1 billion in exports of U.S. goods and services supports more than 5,000 U.S. jobs. In 2012, exports of U.S. goods and services supported an estimated 9.8 million American jobs, including 25 percent of all manufacturing jobs.” – Office of U.S. Trade Representative fact sheet
  • “[Trade] could have a profound impact on jumpstarting the economies for all of us. It’s worth millions of jobs.” – Secretary of State John Kerry, February 1, 2014
  • “I’m against fast track ... Everyone would be well advised just to not push this right now.” – Senate Majority Leader Reid, January 30, 2014


In November 2009, President Obama announced he would work “with the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries with the goal of shaping ... a 21st century trade agreement.” President Obama returned from Asia this past week having failed yet again to secure completion of the TPP. Given President Obama’s trade agenda of the past five years, it seems fair to ask: when will President Obama actually negotiate a trade agreement to completion? Is he more interested in securing jobs for everyday Americans, or protecting the jobs of Democrats in Congress?