Why Indy Means Business
Note: this post first appeared in the Indianapolis Star.
Starting this April, huge Boeing 777 cargo aircraft will begin streaming in and out of Indianapolis four nights a week coming from the new FedEx Express hub in Osaka, Japan. Locating our FedEx North Pacific Regional Hub on the western edge of Japan is partly due to a combination of geography, flight optimization, package consolidation, and something the Kansai International Airport (KIX) shares with the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) – they are open for business 24/7. So is the U.S. economy.
Global gateways, like the Indy Hub, are essential to keep today’s customers and suppliers throughout America competitive in the world economy. US exports to Asia have been steadily increasing in the last five years, up to over $475 billion last year. That’s good news for Indiana because global trade supports over 760,000 jobs in the Hoosier state, which exported $37 billion of goods worldwide in 2012.
The new proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) now in negotiation will strengthen ties between Indiana and 11 Pacific Rim countries, adding markets like Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan to existing free trade partners. By lowering more tariff barriers and expanding opportunities in additional global markets, the TPP could account for over half of all exports from Indiana.
Future trade opportunities for Indiana are not limited to the Pacific Rim countries of the TPP. Businesses in Indiana exported over $11 billion in goods and services to Europe in 2012. Once the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations are completed, Indiana’s exports to Europe could increase by thirty percent, creating an additional 13,000 jobs.
But we have to get there first. These two US-led trade agreements, TTIP and TPP, each with enormous economic potential, are being negotiated now among a combination of nearly 40 countries from Asia, North and South America and Europe. The goal for both agreements is to modernize trade policy to reflect a post-Internet world by harmonizing customs regulations, standardizing regulatory practices, opening markets, and dealing with difficult subjects like intellectual property, unfair competition from state-owned enterprises, cross border data transfer and environmental issues.
The pathway through Congress for these trade agreements is TPA – the Trade Promotion Authority legislation – which lays out U.S. trade priorities, provides a process for consultation with Congress, and creates a procedure for an up-or-down vote on trade agreements. It’s a process that has been around for over 40 years.
Imagine trying to complete complex negotiations with dozens of other governments if, after the negotiators have finished, each of the 535 members of Congress in America can start adding their own amendments. Passing TPA is critical to getting future trade agreements across the finish line and we all need to encourage our congressional delegations to support it.
With only five percent of the world’s population living within the U.S., global trade is essential to reach the 95 percent of the marketplace. Even the small and medium online businesses in America have created new trade patterns. In a new study out this month, eBay reports the average number of export markets for their commercial sellers now is an astounding 19 countries, unheard of ten years ago. Streamlined and efficient global trade liberalization rules now being addressed in pending trade agreements are essential for U.S. economic growth.
As those big FedEx aircraft rotate in and out of America’s heartland, they’ll need a long runway. And so does the U.S. economy.
Let’s demonstrate American leadership on trade and help grow the American economy. Tell Congress, let’s pass TPA.