We are busy negotiating a Trans- Pacific Partnership trade agreement with 10 Pacific Rim countries that, together, make up the fourth-largest market for American exports. And the TPP’s American-influenced template for trade has spurred the interest of other Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, and should give the United States and its partners needed leverage in the contest with China and others, who have different ideas about the need for strong and fair trade rules for the region.
Seizing a greater share of Asia-Pacific trade will also require other sustained efforts, including tough enforcement against economically significant trade barriers and smart investments to ensure that America has boots on the ground in the region to promote our exports and enforce our rights.
This will be hard work and will require extensive collaboration among the administration, Congress and other stakeholders. But the payoff would be huge. Getting back to a 14.3 percent share of leading Asia-Pacific markets would — in 2020 alone — yield almost $600 billion more in U.S. exports and more than 3 million additional jobs.
The recent G-20 economic meetings in Mexico were all about global economic growth — how to encourage it, find it and sustain it. America has a golden opportunity to seize Asia-Pacific growth but only if we stay committed to breaking down trade barriers and setting rules that give American manufacturers a fair chance to compete in the region.
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) is a member of the Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. Ed Gerwin is senior fellow for trade at Third Way.