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What They're Saying: People From Across the Country Call on America to Lead On Trade

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) gives America the greatest opportunity to level the playing field for American workers. That's why people from every region are backing the President's trade policy.

Trade has been central to our resurgence, contributing nearly one-third of our economic growth in the recovery and supporting 11.7 million American jobs in 2014 alone.

As we observe this growth, we're also in a race to secure a trade deal with countries in the Asia Pacific -- the fastest-growing markets in the world. These nations and others that would be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) received 62% of American exports in 2014.

But as President Obama has made clear, he will not sign any agreement that fails to put American workers first. His trade proposal gives us the greatest opportunity to level the playing field for American businesses and their employees, ensures the rights of workers around the world, protects endangered species and the environment, preserves a free and open Internet, and would hold our trading partners accountable. 

Voices from across the country -- and from across the aisle  -- have expressed support for this trade deal. Here is a look at what people are saying about the President's trade deal: 


The Oregonian: "Foreign Trade is Vital For Oregon"

Wiliam Holt, Executive VP and GM of the Technology and Manufacturing Group of Intel Corporation

"For Oregonians, this debate begins right here at home. Trade creates jobs, supports increased wages and drives economic growth across our state. According to Business Roundtable, trade-related jobs in Oregon grew 4.6 times faster than total employment from 2004 to 2013. As a result, more than one in five Oregon jobs - at large and small companies, on farms, in factories and at company headquarters - are supported by trade….Congress needs to seize this opportunity. With it, we will open up foreign markets and level the playing field so American and Oregon businesses of all sizes can keep growing. U.S. economic growth depends on trade with markets around the globe, and we need fair trade to compete in today's innovation economy."

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The LA Times: "Two Trade Pacts Would Help Firms Sell Abroad, Support Jobs"

Garry Ridge, President and CEO of San Diego based WD-40 Co. 

“Fortunately, the United States is negotiating two significant trade agreements that could help overcome many of the difficulties that come with doing business internationally. They would, for example, strengthen and standardize intellectual property rules in participating countries, making it much easier to protect our trademarks so we can sell more of our legitimate products….These trade agreements would also make trade between countries more stable and efficient; uncertainty is not good for business….The bottom line is that trade agreements will help the United States compete and maintain its leadership in the world economy. Passing trade promotion authority and the trade deals is a sure way to help California companies like ours continue to grow and employ more people here at home.”

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Statesman Journal: "Trade Agreement Would Make Oregon Even More Successful"

Doug Badger, Portland native and Executive Director of the PNW International Trade Association 

“Oregon is one of the most successful exporting regions in the country. Our workers and farmers produce the most sophisticated, sought after and high-quality goods available on the world market today. It’s time that we leverage our success to create even more opportunity for our workers. That’s why we support President Barack Obama’s push for expanding trade and urge our congressional delegation to support him….Trading with the world is as natural to Oregonians as a hike through the gorge or a walk on the beach. It’s who we are. With the adoption of these two trade initiatives, we’ll be able to let our farmers, workers and innovators do what they do best: create and sell world-class goods and services that, in turn, support our communities.”

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The Grand Island Independent: "Trade Deal Important to Nebraska Agriculture" 

Robert Pore, Reporter at The Grand Independent 

“Canada and Mexico make up 45 percent of Nebraska’s export markets, but a growing share of Nebraska exports, 23 percent, goes to Japan, China, South Korea and Hong Kong. From 2013 to 2014, the value of Nebraska’s exports increased by 6.4 percent to $7.86 billion. The top three trade items were beef, soybeans and natural gas, which accounted for more than $1.5 billion. In an effort to strengthen those trade ties to the growing Asian markets, the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are important to the growth of Nebraska’s economy…”

Read More. "USDA's Foreign Chief, a Nebraska Native, Touts Asian Free-Trade Pact"

Russell Hubbard, World-Herald Staff Writer 

"The Nebraska native who heads the U.S. Agriculture Department’s foreign service was in the state Wednesday to support an in-the-works trade pact that would lower barriers between the United States and 11 other nations, mostly in Asia. Phil Karsting is the administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service, which operates trade offices worldwide to aid U.S. exporters….Lowering import tariffs on U.S. agricultural products such as Nebraska corn, beef and soybeans would help the state and U.S. economy, Karsting said Wednesday during an interview in Omaha.…“There are lots of opportunities for us to improve our position in these countries,” Karsting said. The pact still under negotiation, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, aims to lower or eliminate tariffs among the participating countries, he said." 

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The Chicago Tribune: "Trade Promotion Authority Would Help Aurora Area Businesses"

Steven J. Kase, CEO of the Aurora based manufacturer ASK Power 

"Everywhere we look, we see the impact of trade on America. Nearly half of the manufactured goods in the U.S. go to the 20 countries that have freed trade agreements with us and in 2013, U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) partner countries purchased 12 times more goods per capita from the United States than non-FTA countries did. In Illinois, about one in five jobs relies on international trade with that number rapidly growing as our world continues to be more interconnected. Those jobs that are supported by international trade pay almost 20 percent more than jobs that do not, and these jobs are growing faster and than non-trade-dependent jobs. To make sure we play a leading part in the future of international trade, we need Congress to step up and pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation, or fast track legislation. It would allow the president and his staff to negotiate for us in good faith under the direction of Congress." 

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North Dallas Gazette: "5 Reasons TI Supports Trade Promotion Authority Reinstatement" 

Paul Collins, VP of Governmental Affairs for Texas Instruments 

“Nearly 90 percent of TI’s revenue comes from overseas sales, with 61 percent of revenues from Asia and 18 percent from Europe. Open trade is essential for TI to reach new customers emerging every day in countries around the world. It also allows our 100,000 customers reach new markets with their innovative products, creating even more growth opportunities for TI. In addition, open trade enables a robust supply chain that makes TI more competitive.”

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InBusiness Magazine: "TPP May Drive International Trade and Investment in Arizona"

Mike Hunter, Phoenix Business Reporter 

"Negotiations are continuing on the U.S. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which aims to broaden trade between the United States and 11 other countries — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Arizona trade with TPP countries — exports and imports — supported nearly 278,000 jobs in 2011….Expanding economic ties with TPP countries is predicted to help support our state’s economic growth and jobs, according to a fact sheet recently prepared by Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $7.4 trillion in annual revenues. "

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Penn Live: "Yeah, Foreign Trade is Boring, But Here's Why It's a Kitchen Table Issue"

Ed Rendell, Former Governor of Pennsylvania 

“Trade might not be a kitchen table issue, but it's been helping American families put food on their tables for years. Expanding trade has added more than $13,000 to the average American household's annual income. According to a recent survey of mothers, that's roughly what raising a child costs every year. Deals currently under negotiation could add an additional $3,000 to that same family's income. During recent years, trade has been one of America's best ladders for climbing out of the Great Recession….Small businesses have a big stake in promoting trade, too, as they make up the vast majority of all American business that export. These local job creators are the backbone of our economy, and when they export, they tend to grow faster, hire more workers, and pay those workers higher salaries. In a world where 95% of customers live outside our borders, creating more jobs at home depends on making it easier for our small business to compete overseas.”

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Washington Post: Why Obama's Key Trade Deal With Asia Would Actually Be Good for American Workers

David Autor, leading labor economist and associate head of the economic department at MIT; David Dorn, professor of international trade and labor markets at the University of Zurich; and Gordon Hanson, director of the Center on Emerging Pacific Economies at the University of California San Diego

"There are several reasons to support the TPP despite globalization concerns. First, the TPP — which seeks to govern exchange of not only traditional goods and services, but also intellectual property and foreign investment — would promote trade in knowledge-intensive services in which U.S. companies exert a strong comparative advantage. Second, killing the TPP would do little to bring factory work back to America. Third, and perhaps most important, although China is not part of the TPP, enacting the agreement would raise regulatory rules and standards for several of China’s key trading partners. That would pressure China to meet some of those standards and cease its attempts to game global trade to impede foreign multinational companies….Americans have to take advantage of a new reality: Today, U.S. companies rely on global production networks for their success."

Read More. "Increased Trade Brings Jobs, Benefits to State, Phila."

Andrew Nuffer, GM at Thompson Mahogany Co. 

"Trade supports 1.6 million jobs in the commonwealth. That's one in five, which means that among your neighbor, your gym buddy, the stranger next to you on the train, the woman in front of you at the coffee shop, and the person tailgating you in traffic, at least one has a job supported by trade. That person may even make more than you, considering that trade-related jobs pay on average 13 to 18 percent more in wages. When most people think of trade, they think of exports. This makes sense because Pennsylvania is a hub for numerous exports. In fact, we exported nearly $60 billion in goods and services in 2013. Even better, 89 percent of the companies that exported were small and medium businesses….The bottom line is that trade is good for Philadelphia. TPA opens the door to more trade. So to get more trade, we need to pass TPA. If lawmakers in Washington can get this done, they may even restore the faith of a few frustrated Americans."

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Miami Herald: "The Case for Increasing Exports"

Stefan Selig, the Under Secretary of Commerce; and Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs

"Between now and 2030, we expect to see dramatic growth in advanced manufacturing as a result of the digital economy. From crowdsourcing to 3D printing, U.S. manufacturers will be able to bring goods to market easier, faster, and cheaper than ever before. Expanding exports will create new outlets to support this new supply while controlling excess inventory. The U.S. cannot wait until 2030 to adjust to these trends. Neither can Florida, given that 95 percent of the state’s exporters are small and medium sized firms (nearly 59,000 companies) and exports support nearly 275,000 Florida jobs. And neither can the Miami metropolitan area, which carries 67 percent of the state’s export load, roughly $41 billion in goods shipped. That is why Congress should pass trade promotion legislation as the President has called for."

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WJCL News: Georgia Exports Reach $39.4 Billion in 2014, Hit New Record 

"Merchandise exports from Georgia hit $39.4 billion in 2014, reaching a new record. Georgia’s exports in 2014 helped the U.S. achieve a record high for goods and services exports: $2.35 trillion. Goods exports from Georgia supported an estimated 202,000 U.S. jobs in 2013, contributing to the 11.3 million jobs nationwide that were supported by both goods and services exports that year. On average, jobs in these export-related industries pay up to 18 percent more than non-export related industries….The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would create new market opportunities for Georgia companies, supporting export-related jobs. Georgia exported $14.0 billion annually in goods to all TPP markets (2012-2014 average), which accounted for 37 percent of the state’s goods exports. Georgia’s exports could benefit from new market access as a result of Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam eliminating their tariffs as part of TPP."

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Learn more about the President's trade agreement here, and find out what exports mean for businesses in your home state.