Retailers are urging President Obama to use next week’s State of the Union address to kickstart a new legal programme to help US trade.

In a letter to the President, the National Retail Federation (NRF) calls on him to seize the opportunity for “real progress” now that the Senate and Congress are no longer politically split, and therefore less likely to stall legislation.

“As you prepare to deliver your State of the Union address, a number of key priorities for the retail industry – and, in turn, our nation’s economy – are waiting to be resolved in Washington,” writes NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

“Unfortunately, these are all issues that were on the agenda a year ago, and the year before that.

“The issues haven’t changed. But one thing has – the opportunity to do something about them.”

Issues cited include comprehensive tax reform, easing restrictions on international trade, immigration reform, cybersecurity, transportation infrastructure and health insurance reforms.

Some legislation, including internet sales tax collection and patent litigation reform, had stalled in the last session after being passed by one house, but not the other.

In particular, the NRF said new trade relationships with Asia and Europe could open new markets for American goods, while long-term transportation measures could help ease the bottlenecks that “snarl the retail supply chain”.