Nick Martin is the co-founder of The Pro's Closet, an online used-cycling business. He sent the following email to the White House list to highlight why a better trade deal means a brighter future for online businesses like his. Didn't get the email? Sign up for email updates here.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership isn't just President Obama's proposed trade deal -- it's mine, too. It's a trade deal that millions of other online small business owners in this country would be proud to add their name to. I want to tell you why:
Every time I step through the doors of one of our 4,000-square-foot warehouses in Boulder and Denver, Colorado -- every time I see the bikes and cycling parts that line those walls and take in the energetic buzz of our 30-member team -- I take a step back and reflect on a simple fact: I own a business. It’s a "pinch-me" moment -- every time.
I am a cyclist and the proud co-owner of The Pro's Closet, an online used-cycling store. And thanks to the Internet and the availability of e-commerce platforms like eBay, we've gone global. After all, when it’s not cycling season in the U.S., it’s peak season somewhere else in the world.
International customers aren't just good for business abroad; they’re great for my Colorado communities. Why? Because selling in more markets means I can hire more people here at home. In fact, more small businesses are using the Internet to grow their business by reaching new customers they couldn't reach before.
This is why trade is so important to me. If the success of American businesses in the global economy is important to you, say you’re an ambassador for a better trade deal that delivers a brighter future for all of us.
It may seem like a really remote and technical issue, but it actually has a real impact on how small businesses like mine do business. Currently more than 40% of our transactions cross U.S. borders. Unfortunately, most of our trade rules were written in a "pre-Internet" era, which means they are a nightmare to navigate for small online businesses.
Here’s an example: Right now, customs rules are so inconsistent and hard to follow that if we put a cycling part in the wrong packaging or mail it with the wrong label, it won’t make it to our customer in one country. The rules are different for each country, and are sometimes set up in a way that completely blocks out American business.
That is why it is so important that we secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new kind of trade agreement that will ensure America writes the rules and levels the playing field for online businesses and American workers by:
Of course, as the President has said, not all of our past trade deals have lived up to their promise. Thankfully, this trade deal is on track to be different. In fact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is shaping up to be the most progressive trade deal the world has ever seen.
I based my business on the principle of sustainability – buying something "used" that already exists is the greenest way to shop. The Trans-Pacific Partnership seeks to do the same thing on a global scale. And that’s important to me not just because it is good policy, but because it means my company will compete on a level playing field.
The ins and outs of trade can be a bit daunting and in the weeds, especially for businesses that have to navigate the global economy to compete. But the impact is felt worldwide -- from a rural village in Vietnam, now able to buy high-quality bikes on eBay, to the pocketbooks of my team at The Pro’s Closet, as our warehouse floors buzz just a little louder to meet that increased demand from halfway across the globe.
Think big, act small.
Thanks for listening,