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.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.