Welcome to the Ask the Ambassador portion of our blog. We have received many questions and comments from not just across the United States, but also from different regions of the world. This blog will feature questions that express common themes running throughout the questions we receive.
We have received questions and comments about the role of USTR in American's daily lives. Susan from Washington D.C. asked the Ambassador about more discussion about the direct benefits of trade agreements for Americans' lives. She wrote:
"... let's find ways to discuss how trade affects Americans in their many roles as taxpayers (benefiting from a panoply of goods); as citizens who benefit from a clear transparent system of rules; as producers; as shareholders saving for their kids college or retirement etc... In short, let's change the discussion in two ways: first focus on the rationale, costs and benefits of trade agreements, rather than trade per se; and relate these costs and benefits to peoples' daily lives."
Ambassador Kirk responds:
"USTR, along with the Obama administration, strives to create new jobs for American workers, and new markets for American businesses. With 95% of the world's consumers located outside of the United States, trade allows Americans to expand their business by extending their operations beyond our borders. In addition, while international trade increases the profits of our small businesses, it also decreases the price you pay for such items as groceries due to international competition.
"Aside from negotiating trade agreements, USTR also focuses on the enforcement of these agreements. Whether or not these pacts are enforced greatly influences trade's potential benefits. Trade agreements are similar to the contracts that Americans sign on a daily basis. When you buy a car, you get the car in exchange for making your monthly payment. That's keeping your end of the contract, and we will ensure that our trading partners keep their end of our contracts. American workers deserve no less. The American worker can compete with any worker in the world if we level the playing field.
"In May, we negotiated a breakthrough in a 20-year dispute by reaching an agreement with the European Commission. American ranchers, meat packers, and their employees will now be able to sell high-quality American beef at zero duty within the European Union. Those exports are expected to put $100 million in the pockets of American farmers and ranchers over the next three years. This is an example of trade agreements benefitting American ranchers and others. USTR will continue to work to keep bringing home the benefits of trade - and talking about them, too."
Please continue to send us your comments and questions so that we can continue and expand our dialogue on trade.