At the outset of the new year, our economy is showing some encouraging signs of life. Now we need to build momentum for long-term growth.

Our leaders have the opportunity to restore a governing center and rally around a common bipartisan cause — stronger and deeper economic growth in order to create jobs and expand opportunities for all Americans.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be working to advance this common cause in three ways:

First, we will pursue a robust growth agenda to capitalize on extraordinary areas of potential. Expanding trade through the major agreements now under negotiation would allow U.S. businesses to sell more goods and services across the globe. Safely and responsibly developing our abundant energy resources and selling them around the world would generate more of the jobs, growth and revenues we need. Fostering technological advancement and an open, flexible Internet — free from excessive government regulation — would continue to drive prosperity and innovation in our economy. Rebuilding our infrastructure through smart, long-term investments would put people to work in a hurry, enable commerce to flow more smoothly and efficiently, and save lives through improved safety.

Second, we will push for the necessary reforms to government to ease uncertainty and support growth. Meaningful immigration reform achieved through bipartisan legislation would provide the U.S. economy with the workers it needs at all skill levels. Modernizing the regulatory system and providing relief from regulatory abuses would help restore certainty for businesses and preserve U.S. jobs. Comprehensive tax reform would help create a simpler, fairer, competitive pro-growth system. Bringing U.S. debt under control and reining in runaway entitlement spending are vital to preventing the looming entitlement crisis and would allow the United States to make investments in long-term growth and competitiveness. Addressing shortcomings in our public K-12 schools would begin to close the opportunity gap that exists for too many Americans.

Third, we will vigorously defend a set of fundamental American values that define who we are as a people and made us the most free, prosperous and compassionate country on Earth. We must continually fight to protect the right to speak freely and the right to participate in a free enterprise system where you can take a risk, work hard and achieve your dreams.

If we promote policies that support, expand, and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit — and reject or reform those that threaten it — we can realize the kind of growth that will create jobs, spread opportunity and ensure America’s competitive future.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.