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Boosting U.S. Growth with Trade

Interviewee: Jonathan Huneke, Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, U.S. Council for International Business
Interviewer: Roya Wolverson, Staff Writer, CFR.org
May 18, 2010

On March 14, U.S. President Barack Obama endorsed World Trade Week--a week of trade-related events across the country for U.S. businesses and government--to promote his goal of doubling exports in five years. But a spreading sovereign debt crisis in Europe, persistent high U.S. unemployment, and protectionist policies abroad could make reaching that ambitious goal even more challenging.

The U.S. Council for International Business' Jonathan Huneke, whose trade organization helped organized the week's events, says the Obama administration's efforts to promote trade have been insufficient. Enacting dormant free trade agreements with Panama, South Korea, and Columbia is one crucial step to boosting growth, he says, as is returning to the Doha Round of international trade talks, which the G20 vowed to wrap up in March. Huneke says although free trade "used to be a non-partisan issue," lawmakers have politicized the concept because of growing concern about domestic job losses. But setting up more foreign outposts for U.S. businesses creates more jobs at home, argues Huneke.

The more important question, he says, is how to protect high-end U.S. production and intellectual property in countries like China and Russia. He believes the lack of regard for intellectual property will gradually change as developing-world trading partners advance economically.


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