US Trade Representative Ron Kirk has reiterated that a combination of enforcing trade rules and accessing new markets is key to creating US jobs and doubling exports over the next five years.

In a statement accompanying the publication of President Obama's 2010 Trade Policy Agenda and 2009 Annual Report earlier this week, he said the administration is committed to seizing new opportunities and building on existing agreements to try to boost the US economy.

"Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States, and the President's trade agenda will help to get American workers and businesses access to as many of those customers as possible," said Ambassador Kirk.

He added: "The priorities in this Agenda can work to strengthen the rules-based global trading system on which the nations of the world depend, while opening markets and ensuring that American businesses and workers receive the economic benefits of trade."

His comments echo the President's goals, which were outlined during the State of the Union speech earlier this year.

The $3.8 trillion budget put forward at the beginning of February also linked US economic recovery to job creation and trade, with more money being allocated to trade enforcement and export promotion.

Outlined in this week's Trade Policy Agenda are support for a rules-based trading system that liberalises market access in agriculture, goods and services. 

But the administration has also pledged to enforce US trade rights, particularly non-tariff barriers.

It admits that "deeper engagement with major emerging markets is critical for American trade prospects," as well as regional deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

And work to resolve outstanding issues with pending FTAs - like those with Panama, Colombia and Korea - is key to significant economic benefits, as is strengthening relationships with current partners such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the European Union.
The President's more aggressive approach to opening markets is welcomed by Kevin M Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).

"The success of the US apparel and footwear industry is dependent on a competitive global market," he says.

"To maximise the role trade plays in our economic recovery, we must ensure that trade is reciprocal for new and existing trade relationships, including the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea."

Click here to read the full text of the President's 2010 Trade Policy Agenda.