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Jobs, Trade Central to New USTR, Commerce Leadership

President Obama today nominated two leaders for posts that are about, as their core mission, creating new U.S. jobs and building new global opportunities for America’s businesses. 

Mike Froman promises to be a strong leader as our next U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and his nomination comes at a critical juncture for U.S. trade policy.  With the push to complete the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion this summer and the start of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks around the corner, determined, driven leadership at USTR is crucial to the success of these talks and the long-term growth of the U.S. economy.  Froman understands the complexities in each of these talks, and the opportunities that they present.  This is also true of the effort to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks a speedy conclusion that yields a high-standard, comprehensive agreement.


The TPP is one of those new, fresh and innovative ways to liberalize trade among some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. And by introducing high-standard, rules-based disciplines across a range of new issues into the bloodstream of the international trading system, it's our expectation that it will ultimately help strengthen the multilateral trading system as well. We've got a lot of work to do to allow TPP to achieve its potential, but I'm confident that when analysts look back on this period, they'll see the TPP as one of the most important strategic initiatives of the Obama administration and in the global trading system.  (CSIS, 1/4/2012)


ITI has developed a solid relationship with Froman in his role as President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for International and Economic Affairs.  He has helped to forge a U.S. trade agenda that recognizes the 21st century complexities of the global marketplace and the opportunities that forward-thinking partnerships can present.  Given the number of potential market-opening items on our trade agenda, we at ITI hope the Senate will take prompt action to approve this nomination.

Similarly, the choice of Penny Pritzker to lead the U.S. Department of Commerce will bring proven business acumen to the department.  With more than 25 years of experience in a variety of industries, as well as her leadership on the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Pritzker has shown not only an understanding of the challenges facing the U.S. economy, but also the ability to identify smart policy solutions that advance job creation and economic growth.  Importantly, she understands the nexus between a strong U.S. economy and a talented, high-skilled U.S. workforce, as evidenced by her work on the advisory board for Skills for America’s Future


Closing the skills gap will not be easy.  But everyone can feel the benefits.  American workers will have the ability to find and stay in good jobs.  Employers will be able to identify applicants trained with the right skills on the front end.  Our economy will be stronger and more competitive long term.

Only creative and meaningful partnerships can get the job done.  It’s going to take U.S. businesses, educational institutions and government all working together to create a more competitive America and help students achieve the right skills for an ever-changing economy.

A robust economy is one that can supply the right people with the right skills at the right time.  Innovative partnerships make this happen -- and ensure better news for America’s economic future in the century to come.  (Politico, 6/9/2011)


The tech sector recognizes the urgent need to ensure that American businesses have access to the world’s top talent, and that, as a nation, we need to take stronger steps to develop the best and brightest minds here at home.  We live in a knowledge-driven economy and, without those advanced workforce skills, the U.S. position as the world’s leader in innovation will be threatened. 

Mike Froman and Penny Pritzker are excellent choices for these key positions.  We look forward to their confirmation and working with them closely in their new roles.


Public Policy Tags: Trade & Investment, Skills/STEM
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