Continued U.S. participation in the Geneva, Switzerland-based World Trade Organization (WTO) is the top trade-issue priority for the Business Roundtable, a Washington, D.C.-based association of CEOs of large U.S. corporations. "A clear rules-based international trading system is vital to U.S. interests and will encourage international economic development and investment," the group says.
Renewal of presidential authority to submit U.S. trade agreements with other nations to Congress on a "fast-track" basis is another Roundtable priority. Existing Trade Promotion Authority, which allows lawmakers to approve or reject but not amend negotiated agreements, is set to expire later this year.
The Business Roundtable also is urging the Bush Administration to formally submit the pending Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement to Congress for approval this year. And the business group is urging the Administration to take the lead in bringing the Doha Round of international trade negotiations to a successful conclusion this year. Winding up Doha could be complicated by the expected move of Robert B. Zoellick, who has been U.S. trade negotiator, to the number two position at the U.S. State Department.