Trade Is Critical To Local & State Economies; New Pacts Designed to Spur U.S. Job Growth
Business organizations from nine states, representing thousands of America’s leading employers, today announced a coordinated campaign to support passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. The Senate passed the TPA legislation last month and now the House is poised to act. The legislation would authorize the President to negotiate new international trade agreements designed to benefit American business and workers.
Participating organizations include the California Business Roundtable, the Colorado Business Roundtable, Iowa Business Council, the Minnesota Business Partnership, the New England Council, the Oregon Business Council, the Pennsylvania Business Council and the Washington Roundtable. Together, the members of these organizations employ tens of millions Americans.
The campaign includes letters and calls to members of state Congressional delegations as well as local media outreach. The state and local initiative is designed to supplement the advertising and advocacy efforts of Washington D.C.-based business organizations, in the face of a strong push by opposition to global trade initiatives by both the political left, right and organized labor. Pro-TPA arguments point to the number of jobs supported by trade and argue that each state stands to gain from an increase in trade activity. In California, for example, trade supports 4.7 million jobs. In Colorado, 20% of all jobs are supported by international trade. In Washington state, trade is the single largest driver of the economy and responsible for 40% of jobs. According to the Business Roundtable, international trade supports 39.8 million U.S. jobs, more than one in five; and the U.S. exports over $2.2 trillion in goods and services.
In May, nearly 100 members of the Partnership for New York City, an organization made up of New York City’s top business leaders, issued a letter to the entire New York State Congressional delegation pressing for support of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA). TPA gives the President the authority he needs to secure the advantages that trade initiatives will bring to American business and workers. Signatories included: Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman & CEO, Goldman Sachs & Co.; Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express Company; Philippe P. Dauman, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.; James Dimon, Chairman & CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley; and K. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, 21st Century Fox.
“New York stands to be a major beneficiary of more open and robust international trade, and business leaders from around the country agree that other states will reap the benefits as well,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City. “The benefits of enhanced trade are too good to pass up – it will provide a lift for companies both large and small, and create new jobs right here at home. The House must get on board with the Senate and pass TPA as soon as possible.”
“For more than 35 years the members of the California Business Roundtable have brought their executive leadership to public policy issues that are critical to growing jobs and strengthening the economy,” said Robert C. Lapsley, President, California Business Roundtable. “International trade, and the TPP specifically, is one of those issues critical to California economic future. The TPP will prevent future exclusion of American goods, services and investment in Asian markets – this is critically important as the U.S. is gradually losing market share. We urge Congress to support the TPP and eliminate long-standing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.”
“Thousands of Colorado businesses across a large spectrum of the state benefit tremendously from fair, open, and successful international trade opportunities that are leveraged at the federal level. With so much purchasing power outside of our borders, a robust trade policy can help expand and grow the Colorado economy, as well as increase opportunities and access to countries abroad,” states Jeff Wasden, President, Colorado Business Roundtable, “Colorado understands the opportunities in our global economy and we strongly implore the House to move Trade Promotion Authority forward.”
“Iowa is a net-exporting state, with an economy and future that depends on an open and fair marketplace,” said Elliott Smith, Executive Director of the Iowa Business Council. “Last year, Iowa exported a record $15.1 billion in manufactured goods and value-added agricultural products – nearly 83% of which were from small or medium sized businesses. Iowa farmers exported $3.58 billion in soybeans, $1.99 billion in pork, $1.71 billion in corn, and $1.04 billion in feed grain – serving as the foundation and strength of our agriculture economy. One in five Iowa jobs depend on trade. Quite simply, international trade is critically important to Iowa’s businesses, workers, and farmers. Voting for a level playing field in international trade is a vote for a growing, dynamic Iowa economy and a more robust, competitive United States.”
“Robust international trade is necessary for Minnesota’s economy to remain strong and globally competitive,” said Charlie Weaver, Executive Director of the Minnesota Business Partnership. “Free trade helps boost exports to untapped markets and acts as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth at home. TPA is a win for Minnesota businesses and workers, and we urge the House to pass it.”
“In New England, over 24,000 companies export their goods, and over 260,000 jobs in our region are supported by exports. New free trade agreements with key trading partners in Asia and Europe will only increase these numbers and drive continued economic growth and prosperity in New England,” said James T. Brett, President & CEO, The New England Council. “We are encouraged by the Senate’s recent passage of Trade Promotion Authority, and hope that the House will soon follow suit so that exporters of all types and sizes can access new foreign markets.”
“Today there are 525 million middle class consumers in Asia. By 2030, there are expected to be 2.7 billion. TPA and the TPP will help Oregon and U.S. companies reach these consumers, who are demanding Oregon made products like high quality food and beverages, computer and electronic components, athletic gear, and wood products,” said Duncan Wyse, President of the Oregon Business Council. “We thank the members of the Oregon congressional delegation who have provided leadership on this issue, and we urge Congress to pass TPA and TPP soon so that more Oregon and U.S. products reach the growing global middle class.”
“Exports are so good for Pennsylvania families, workers, and investors you would think everyone would be for it! Sadly, that’s not the case. Liberal lawmakers fear trade deals will hurt higher priced organized labor and the global environmental. Conservative lawmakers fear trade deals are ‘corporate welfare’ for large companies and provide the opportunity for President Obama and the Federal government to seize more power. Both groups are wrong; dead wrong. And they’re threatening to kill our economic recovery and expansion,” said Dave Patti, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council.
“TPA is necessary to move forward with progressive trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ensure they work in our favor,” said Steve Mullin, President of the Washington Roundtable. “In Washington state, where trade is the single largest driver of our economy and responsible for 40 percent of jobs, employers sell and source goods and services around the world. We need trade agreements like TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that reduce barriers impeding the success and efficiency of global supply chains.”