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Bipartisan Group of Former Presidential Economic Advisors Call for TPA Passage

March 06, 2015

Support for expanding American trade spans the ideological spectrum, and now a bipartisan group of former top presidential economic advisors is underscoring that fact. In a letter to congressional leaders, 14 men and women who served as chair of the Presidents Council of Economic Advisers are calling on Congress to pass trade promotion authority, noting that it “encourages our trade partners to put their best offers on the table. At the same time, this respected group of economists urges Congress to avoid adding currency-manipulation measures to trade legislation, warning it would be “to the detriment of all Americans. You can read the full letter either here or below.

Dear Mr. Speaker, Mr. Leader, Madam Pelosi, and Senator Reid:

International trade is fundamentally good for the U.S. economy, beneficial to American families over time, and consonant with our domestic priorities. That is why we support the renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to make it possible for the United States to reach international agreements with our economic partners in Asia through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and in Europe through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Trade Promotion Authority provides for an up or down vote on these agreements, without amendments, and thereby encourages our trade partners to put their best offers on the table.

Expanded trade through these agreements will contribute to higher incomes and stronger productivity growth over time in both the United States and other countries. U.S. businesses will enjoy improved access to overseas markets, while the greater variety of choices and lower prices trade brings will allow household budgets to go further to the benefit of American families.

Trade is beneficial for our society as a whole, but the benefits are unevenly distributed and some people are negatively affected by increased global competition. The economy-wide benefits resulting from increased trade provide resources to make progress on important social goals, including helping those who are adversely affected.

Increased global economic engagement will enhance U.S. global leadership in line with our values. Indeed, trade agreements signed under both Democratic and Republican Presidents have included provisions to combat corruption and to strengthen environment and labor standards.

It is not desirable for trade agreements to include provisions aimed at so-called currency manipulation. This is because monetary policy affects the value of currencies. Attempts to penalize countries for supposedly manipulating exchange rates would thus impose constraints on U.S. monetary policy, to the detriment of all Americans.

We believe that agreements to foster greater international trade are in our national economic and security interests, and support a renewal of Trade Promotion Authority.

Alan Greenspan, Greenspan Associates (1974 to 1977)

Charles L. Schultze, Brookings Institution (1977 to 1981)

Martin Feldstein, Harvard University (1982 to 1984)

Michael J. Boskin, Stanford University (1989 to 1993)

Laura D’Andrea Tyson, UC Berkeley (1993 to 1995)

Martin N. Baily, Brookings Institution (1999 to 2001)

R. Glenn Hubbard, Columbia University (2001 to 2003)

N. Gregory Mankiw, Harvard University (2003 to 2005)

Harvey S. Rosen, Princeton University (2005)

Ben S. Bernanke, Brookings Institution (2005 to 2006)

Edward P. Lazear, Stanford University (2006 to 2009)

Christina D. Romer, UC Berkeley (2009 to 2010)

Austan D. Goolsbee, University of Chicago (2010 to 2011)

Alan B. Krueger, Princeton University (2011 to 2013)

The letter writers were chairs of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.