U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has said that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an opportunity to increase American prosperity and security. Democrats who oppose it should consider that their own party has supported free trade dating back to the tenure of President John F. Kennedy, she said.
In an opinion piece for Politico,
Kennedy makes that case that the experience of NAFTA demonstrates the benefits of joining with allies in economic partnership.
"There are some who are reluctant to change the status quo and embrace the future. This is nothing new. But there is a proud Democratic free-trade tradition that we should not forget. For my father, President John F. Kennedy, expanding trade was integral to America's prosperity and security," she wrote.
"The debate raged again when NAFTA was brought forward 20 years ago. Critics argued that it would kill jobs, lower wagers, and erode the middle class. In fact, NAFTA has helped create jobs — and higher-paying export-related jobs — but it has also added to pressures for change in the U.S. economy."
Kennedy also noted the legacy of her uncle, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and his support of NAFTA.
She described the TPP as "the most progressive trade deal in history."
"It will require high standards in digital trade, environmental protections, worker's rights and other critical areas. It will lower barriers to U.S. goods and services in the world's fastest growing markets, providing new access to long-protected agricultural markets, such as Japan, for American farmers and ranchers."
She said it will also level the playing field for American firms and workers while offering businesses better advantages to compete with state-owned enterprises.
"To realize the economic strategic benefits of TPP, Congress needs to pass Trade Promotion Authority. That's how Congress has worked with American presidents of both parties for decades," she said.
She concluded by saying, "American leadership is essential. With TPP, we can ensure that global trade is fair to American workers and based on the values of individual freedom and opportunity that still inspire the world. As my uncle, Senator Kennedy, said two decades ago, 'We cannot turn our backs on progress or cast our votes against the future.'"
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