Why We Need TPA
Trade bills are always an uphill battle and the current debate over Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is no exception. This is despite the clear evidence that trade creates opportunity and growth for the U.S. economy. Trade allows each of us, individually and collectively, to do what we do best and to trade with others for the things that they do best. That’s called comparative advantage – and it still works.
Perhaps that is why a majority of Americans believe that trade agreements are good for America. They understand that trade enables our innovative small and medium sized companies to grow their business through exports. They know that trade agreements make trade easier for companies who want to reach the 95% of the world’s consumers who are outside the U.S. The internet and e-commerce are already bringing millions of those consumers to the doorsteps of small business. It’s a tremendous opportunity if we can simplify the process, especially the customs procedures at the border. Trade agreements can help here too.
The U.S. already has low tariffs but American goods and services face some of the highest barriers in the world. So the U.S. economy stands to gain the most as foreign tariff and non-tariff barriers to our products and services come down. This explains why the U.S. runs a trade surplus in manufactured goods with our trade partners as a whole. It also explains why Department of Commerce figures show our FTA partners only account for 10% of global trade outside the U.S. but have recently purchased nearly 50% of our exports. Trade agreements reduce barriers and make U.S. goods and services more competitive. They can also help move other countries towards higher standards and better treatment of workers and the environment.
The U.S. is pursuing the most ambitious trade agenda in modern history. The TPA bill that is being debated in Congress is essential to moving that agenda forward. It is also a much improved version over previous TPAs. It strengthens the transparency of the negotiating process and publishes the text of completed trade agreements on-line well in advance of Congressional votes. It sets out ambitious, 21st century trade and investment objectives that will shape the rules of global trade and promote American exports, and the jobs that are dependent on them. The up-or-down vote required by TPA is necessary to get our trading partners to put their best offers on the table and secure high-standard agreements in the future. The bill addresses the concerns most frequently raised by trade critics. It deserves our support.
FedEx sees the benefits of trade everyday as we help link small business to new customers around the world. We know that trade, competition and open markets are the best path to greater prosperity and opportunity. TPA is the key to unlocking these opportunities around the world. Let’s pass TPA.
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February 19, 2019
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