WASHINGTON — David Dreier, chairman of The Annenberg-Dreier Commission at Sunnylands, testified before Congress on January 15 on the importance of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the need to expand and upgrade the agreement for the 21st Century.
Appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere at its hearing NAFTA at Twenty: Accomplishments, Challenges, and the Way Forward, Dreier encouraged the panel to use the occasion of the agreement’s 20th anniversary not just to look back, but to look forward. Citing dramatic changes in the worldwide marketplace since NAFTA’s implementation, Dreier made the case for expanding upon the agreement’s foundation. He praised the Obama administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry, and the previous Bush administration, for showing leadership in pursuing further development of a North American regional economic platform, particularly through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“We must harness the power of our combined workforces, energy resources, innovation, and investment to create the world’s most successful global competitor,” Dreier said. “We need to create a 21st Century partnership that drives unparalleled growth, job creation, widespread prosperity, and creative solutions to the shared challenges we face.”
The Annenberg-Dreier Commission at Sunnylands organizes retreats and meetings to develop new agendas for practical cooperation that will advance trade and related interests across the region, which includes Asia, the Americas and the rest of the Greater Pacific. Its advisory board is comprised of distinguished public servants and diplomats. Co-chaired by Jon Huntsman, former U.S. Ambassador to China and Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III, former White House Chief of Staff, the advisory board includes former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, and former World Bank president Robert Zoellick, among others.
The Commission is part of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating entity. Sunnylands hosts high-level retreats that address serious issues facing the nation and the world, including the recent meeting between President Obama and President Xi of the People’s Republic of China. More information can be found at www.sunnylands.org/dreier-commission.
Mr. Dreier’s remarks begin at 1:16:43.
Dreier directly countered a false but pervasive narrative that the American economy is in decline, and urged members of the Subcommittee to take bold action, including the expansion of NAFTA, to ensure that U.S. growth and leadership is enhanced.
“We are well positioned to benefit dramatically from the world that is emerging,” he said, “provided we are wise enough to support policies that favor American prosperity — and provided we lead in shaping a world where economic growth can beget human opportunity and spur collaboration on big global challenges.
“Our global leadership — of which NAFTA is a prime example — has helped get us to the inflection point we are at today. Continuing to lead on trade, perhaps more than on any other issue, may determine how the promise of the 21st Century plays out for our people and the rest of the world.”