PATRICK ROSENSTIEL: Free-trade block needs Heitkamp’s support

Via Grand Forks Herald

WASHINGTON — As the dust settles from the narrowly averted fiscal cliff crisis and the newly-elected 113th Congress is sworn in, I urge freshman policy makers such as Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to pay close attention to what could potentially be the most significant foreign and domestic policy initiative of this administration: the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.

Decisions that could restructure American foreign relations and potentially the economy itself are set to progress in early March as negotiators from 11 countries gather for the 16th round of talks.

The TPP talks aim to establish the worldʼs largest-ever free trade block — 11 countries with a combined population of 658 million people and a total gross domestic product of $20.5 trillion. The jobs and economic development implications for the United States in a wide-open Asia Pacific market are enormous.

--Grand Forks Herald

Ainsley Shea