It is certainly true that America’s trade policy plays a large role in the resurgence and strength of our economy – but that’s not the only role it fills. Our trade policy also sits at the core of our strategy to keep America and our allies safe in the 21st century.
Speaking today at Boeing Headquarters in Seattle, WA, America's top diplomat -- Secretary of State John Kerry -- offered this answer:
"It is no secret that the world in the future looks pretty complicated right now. The turbulence that we see comes from a combination of factors, including the fact that even as the world grows closer, there are powerful forces pulling people apart – terrorism, extreme nationalism, conflicts over resources, a huge number of people coming of age in parts of the world where there simply aren’t enough jobs. This creates a race between opportunity and frustration that we can’t afford to lose.
Expanded trade can help us win that race by spurring innovation and – and as we’ve seen in Asia and elsewhere – helping hundreds of millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty. And poverty, my friends, is where you see much of this violent extremism born.
Just as important, trade agreements such as the TPP will help to knit America and our partners together so that we are better able to cooperate on other areas. It helps to create a community of common interests on trade that will reinforce trust and helps us expand our cooperation in other areas. And that matters, my friends, because the Asia Pacific is the single-most dynamic part of the globe today and where much of the history of this century is going to be written. It includes the four most populous countries, the three largest economies, and a huge and rapidly growing middle class that want to fly in the planes that you build here.
The good news is that our engagement in this region is welcome and making a difference because our partners know that our markets – and even our futures – are absolutely closely linked together.
If we were to retreat from the Asia Pacific, and if our friends were in turn to turn their backs on us, we would face a much different world than we have known in recent decades. And it would not be a world that is more secure.
So let me be clear. We know that our goals in the Pacific are critical because we want what most countries in the region seek: a place where the sovereignty of every state is respected, whether they’re big or small; a region where disputes are settled openly and in accordance with rule of law. We – all of us frankly – can help make this happen if we’re as fully involved economically just as we are diplomatically. In fact, as my colleague Ash Carter, the Secretary of Defense, has suggested, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is as important to American interests in the Asia Pacific as our military posture.
Completing the TPP would send a message throughout the region as well as the world that America is – and will continue to be – a leading force for prosperity and security in the Asia Pacific.
That is good for the United States; it’s good for our trading partners; and it is definitely good for companies and workers here in the American Northwest."
In a recent speech at Arizona State University, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was equally clear:
"You may not expect to hear this from a Secretary of Defense, but in terms of our rebalance in the broadest sense, passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier.
It would deepen our alliances and partnerships abroad and underscore our lasting commitment to the Asia-Pacific. And it would help us promote a global order that reflects both our interests and our values."
It's not just current officials in charge of national security that know this. Former senior security officials, respected foreign policy and public policy thinkers, and a growing number of diplomats are highlighting the link between America's economic and strategic interests.
Dig deeper into the most progressive trade agreement in history -- and see why we need to secure this deal to preserve America's global leadership: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/trade