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Promoting U.S. Growth and Employment 

U.S. participation in OECD trade bodies contributes to maintaining open global markets for U.S. goods and services.     

The OECD serves a critical function in helping members advance their shared agenda of ensuring a strong and dynamic global trading system that can generate sustained economic growth and overcome the challenges of the global economic crisis.  Given members' shared core values of democratic institutions, the rule of law, and open markets, the OECD Trade Committee and Trade Committee Working Party provide a valuable policy forum for the United States and other members to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the multilateral trading system, address complex and sometimes difficult trade issues, and communicate to the wider public the benefits that trade and open economies generate.  Through its multi-disciplinary approach, the OECD offers a distinct advantage in understanding the complex economic effects of trade liberalisation.  

OECD efforts advance our understanding of how trade openness can bolster economies in member countries as well as in the major emerging and other non-member countries, including through economic modelling that illustrates the effects of trade liberalization on GDP, growth and employment.  Its work on tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers, agricultural policies, services trade, and trade facilitation has positively contributed to the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations.  In recent years, OECD research on the importance of imports in helping firms to cut costs and improve efficiency has advanced understanding of why imports, and not only exports, matter to the health of an economy.  OECD work has also paid careful attention on how to mitigate the impact on those who may be negatively affected by trade in the short run.  

The OECD was active in warning against the dangers of protectionist measures during the recent financial and economic crisis.  OECD analysis has helped to identify which policies, among the wide range of measures taken in response to the crisis, are most supportive of trade, growth and employment.  With historically high unemployment rates in several OECD countries, trade protectionist sentiment is once again a risk.  The OECD has launched a major project bringing together other international organizations such as the WTO, World Bank, ILO, and the regional development banks, to deepen our knowledge of the relationships between trade and jobs.  In so doing, the aim is to better prepare member governments, G20 leaders, business and others to resist pressures to resort to potentially job-destroying trade barriers.   

As economies advance and develop, structural shifts occur with production moving away from agriculture and resource-based industries, first to manufacturing and then to services.  Openness to trade in services offers enormous potential to improve competitiveness and generate employment and wealth. The OECD is undertaking new analysis of how various barriers might impede trade in services through its Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI).  Work is almost complete on a number of pilot sectors including telecommunications, professional services, computer services and construction services, and the STRI coverage will soon be expanded to additional sectors and countries.  

The OECD analyzes the inter-relationship between trade and the environment, and has done noteworthy work in areas such as environmental provisions in regional trade agreements and market access for environmental goods and services. The relationship between trade and climate change was the topic of an important Global Forum on Trade which took placed in 2009. 

The OECD also promotes more effective Aid for Trade by encouraging development assistance for trade capacity building and monitoring the extent to which this assistance is working.