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Renewed trade agreements benefit Americans, create jobs

Mike Huckins

Mike Huckins

Creating jobs in America depends on our ability to sell American-made goods and services to the 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside the United States. That is why it is imperative for Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.

While foreign trade greatly benefits Americans, the playing field is often tilted against us. The U.S. market is generally open to foreign-made goods, but our exports face foreign tariffs that can soar into double digits as well as a thicket of non-tariff barriers.

Trade agreements can tear down these barriers and open markets for products made in the United States. Trade works. Our 20 trade agreement partners represent just 10 percent of the world economy, yet they buy nearly half of U.S. exports.

Garrick Taylor

Garrick Taylor

To expand these benefits, the United States is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 of the world’s most dynamic economies in the Asia-Pacific region, including our NAFTA neighbors Canada and Mexico, which is Arizona’s number-one trading partner.

However, to make the TPP and additional trade agreements and the U.S. jobs that come with them a reality, Congress must first approve TPA. Under TPA, Congress sets negotiating objectives but gives the president an up-or-down vote on a final agreement.

Since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office, the United States has never approved a major trade agreement without TPA or its equivalent. Renewing Trade Promotion Authority will help American manufacturers increase U.S. exports and better compete in a highly competitive, globalized economy.

-Mike Huckins is vice president of public affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. Garrick Taylor is senior vice president of government relations & communication for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


  1. Messrs. Huckins and Taylor give us a glowing sales job on “trade agreements,” but offer us nothing on the “trade agreement” that’s on the table, the TPP, because they don’t know any more about what’s in it than they’ve seen on TV, which is practically nothing. I’ve owned and operated an international business for over 25 years, and I agree that international trade is important. The TPP is not about supporting international trade, however. From what has leaked out of the secret negotiations, the TPP is about supporting large corporations in protecting their patents and copyrights, outsourcing American jobs to cheaper labor markets, and getting around American labor, environmental and trade-practice protections. Eventually Congress will b allowed to read and debate the language now being negotiated among large international corporations, and we can hope that some daylight on the process will lead to an agreement that’s better for workers, both here and overseas, as well as our environment and economies. But anything that speeds up the process is bad for all of us who are not big corporate executives.

    Remember, if labor isn’t every bit as free to move as capital, it isn’t “free trade.”

  2. I am studying the issue and have not made up my mind. Let’s hear “the rest of the story?”

    Do the gentlemen support the TPP if its provisions of this international agreement requires the nullification or override Arizona statutes? Does their support hold if the TPP undercuts specific Arizona businesses and their employees, including members of the Chamber?

    Ted Downing

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