George Bush wants US to check its 'oil addiction'
President Bush wants the US to reduce dependence on oil as it makes economy vulnerable to extraneous factors.Updated: Feb 01, 2007, 11:42 IST
President George Bush wants America to reduce its dependence on oil as it made the US economy vulnerable to extraneous factors like increase in demand in India or China.
"We can make our economy more flexible and dynamic by diversifying our energy supply," he said delivering a report on the state of America's economy in New York on Wednesday.
"Energy is vital to businesses and farmers and families all across our nation. Yet, we have a fundamental problem: We're too dependent on oil. That creates vulnerabilities," Bush said outlining the challenges US faces in keeping the economy growing.
"When demand for oil goes up in China or India, it affects the price of gasoline here in America. If a terrorist were to attack oil infrastructure, it affects the supply of energy here in America," he said asking the Democratic Congress move forward with initiatives proposed by him.
"The idea is to diversify our energy supply, keep our air clean and help create new jobs through new industries that will meet the demand for alternative sources of energy," said Bush, now famous for his phrase that America was 'addicted' to oil.
With the new Democratic majority seeking to renegotiate several pending free-trade agreements and progress being made to resurrect long-stalled global trade negotiations, Bush also asked Congress to renew trade promotion authority (TPA), otherwise known as fast track.
The existing authority, which expires July 1, allows the president to negotiate trade agreements and then send them to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendment and on a strict timetable.
The administration would have to submit any agreement covered by the existing TPA grant by Apr 2. "Presidents of both parties have considered this authority essential to completing good trade agreements," Bush said "I ask Congress to renew it."
"I know there's going to be a vigorous debate on trade. ... But walling off America from world trade would be a disaster for our economy," Bush said. "Congress needs to reject protectionism and to keep this economy open to the tremendous opportunities that the world has to offer."
Without TPA, foreign trade officials would be reluctant to negotiate any trade deal with the United States, whether it be a free-trade agreement or a global trade accord, for fear that Congress would be able to alter the agreement.
Congressional Democrats have said they are unlikely to approve pending free-trade agreements with Peru, Panama and Colombia, or any future ones, until the administration includes provisions in them requiring countries to strengthen rules on labour rights and environmental protection.
But Republican lawmakers and US business representatives will be lobbying hard for TPA, which they say is critical to gaining greater access to foreign markets.