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Bush Calls for Greater Trade Authority - 2002-04-27


President Bush wants more authority to negotiate overseas trade deals. Mr. Bush said Congress should give him that authority to help the U.S. economy recover from recession.

President Bush said Americans should not be complacent about good economic news this week showing a nearly six percent growth in the year's first quarter.

"Job creation and business investment are still not what they should be. We want short-term recovery to become long-term expansion. And one of the best ways to encourage high-paying jobs and long-term growth is expanded trade," the president said.

In his weekly radio address, president Bush said he wants Congress to help him expand that trade by giving him the authority to negotiate overseas business deals that would then be put to legislators for a simple yes-or-no vote without amendment.

Trade authority passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives five months ago. Mr. Bush said every day that Senate Democrats delay a vote is another day of missed opportunities to strengthen the U.S. economy.

"The Senate should pass the pending trade legislation without delay. Trade promotion authority would give me the flexibility to negotiate with other countries to open their markets and get the best deals for American producers and workers," Mr. Bush said.

The last five U.S. President had that authority. Former President Clinton was unable to get it renewed eight years ago. Since then, Mr. Bush said America has sacrificed its traditional leadership role in global trade.

"For two decades, trade promotion authority was a bipartisan commitment. It was a commitment because it represented our national interest in expanded foreign markets. More than 150 trade agreements exist throughout the world. The European Union is party to 31 of them, and Mexico to 10. The United States is party to just three," Mr. Bush said.

President Bush also wants Congress to extend the Andean Trade Preferences Act which gives four South American nations greater access to U.S. markets. Over the last ten years, Mr. Bush has said the legislation has created 140,000 jobs in South America while providing an alternative to producing illegal drugs.

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