Trade has been central to our resurgence, contributing nearly one-third of our economic growth in the recovery and supporting 11.7 million American export-related 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 percent 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. The TPP 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.
That's why editorial boards from across the country -- and from cities that are home to our nation's largest ports -- have expressed support for the TPP and authorizing President Obama to lead America forward on trade. Here is a small sample of the coverage that this effort has generated across the country:
San Francisco, CA -- San Francisco Chronicle: "Congress Must Pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership"
"A number of unusual opponents, including Internet activists, have lined up against the partnership in recent months. But none of these narrow interests should be allowed to derail a critical trade deal with 12 nations and a chance to cement America’s economic standing in a fast-changing region….It would remove tariffs and other trade barriers with Japan, Canada and eight other countries….The idea is to allow the United States to guide the rules of global trade, especially with Asia, instead of China. The trade deal is expected to lift U.S. farmers and our country’s service sector, but it’s as much about giving the U.S. a say in global corporate governance as it is about pushing American interests abroad….We have the opportunity to cement relationships with crucial trading partners and to offer a bulwark against China in a fast-growing region. Congress needs to stop fiddling and pass the partnership now."
Baltimore, MD -- Baltimore Sun: "Give Obama 'Fast Track' Authority"
"It's an Economics 101 lesson that bears repeating: Trade is good. The United States is the world's largest trading nation, supporting more than 11 million jobs. In Baltimore, we understand this as well as anyone — our port provides tangible proof. More than 29 million tons of cargo worth more than $50 billion move through this city every year. Expanding trade — and negotiating an end to the practice of punitive tariffs being applied to U.S.-made goods — ought to be a high priority. The less trade is encumbered, the more jobs created, the more investment encouraged, the more efficient the global economy. And make no mistake, we no longer live in an era when the U.S. can afford economic isolation. That's why Congress should grant President Barack Obama greater authority to negotiate a 12-nation trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
"TWO out of five Washington workers have a job related to international trade. As more countries enter the global marketplace, Washington has much to gain — or lose — if the United States doesn’t maintain a strong position in trade. That’s just one of many reasons why Congress should grant President Obama “fast-track” authority to negotiate trade agreements known as trade-promotion authority….In Washington, expanding trade means more goods coming in and out of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma and thousands of well-paying jobs. The value of Washington exports — ranging from apples and hops to airplanes and software — shot up 40 percent during the last four years to $90.6 billion in 2014. TPP includes standards protecting the environment and labor, and covers areas as diverse as development, energy use, transparency, accountability and intellectual property."
"In 2008, the United States joined negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the White House sees as a central component of a long-term strategic pivot to Asia. Now including 12 Pacific Rim nations such as Japan, Australia, and Peru, and accounting for nearly 40 percent of global GDP, the partnership is intended to establish common regulations on tariffs, intellectual property, dispute resolution, the environment, labor, human rights, and a range of other issues….Many US allies and negotiating partners worry that without fast-track, any deal they strike with the Obama administration will die by a thousand cuts in Congress. Given how divisive the issue has become, that concern is not unfounded. Japan has expressed the same fear, and sees fast-track as a vital part of the negotiating process. Getting the bill sorted out before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Washington later this month would be a sign of respect for one of our most important allies."
"The Obama administration has been negotiating this deal with 11 other countries that represent 40 percent of the global economy, including Japan, Vietnam and Australia, to lower tariffs and expand trade. And there is no doubt the U.S. has much to gain, since an agreement would mean, as The Washington Post has pointed out, the adoption of "U.S.-style rules on tariffs, regulation and intellectual property."...Obviously a trade deal, no matter how progressive, can only do so much to advance an agenda of liberty and human rights. That's simply not its primary purpose. But the TPP will include labor and environmental protections far more advanced than any found in previous pacts."
"Few states would benefit more from increased access to foreign markets than Oregon, which exported $27 billion in goods and services in 2013. The 11 countries other than the United States participating in this trade treaty include eight of Oregon's top 12 export markets. Trade benefits all areas of the state, from athletic apparel and semiconductor companies in the Portland area to wheat farmers in Eastern Oregon to berry growers and wine producers in the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon. Oregonians should cheer Wyden as he helps negotiate for increased trade transparency. But they also should expect him and the rest of Congress ultimately to reach a deal on both trade promotion authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
"President Barack Obama reasonably wants what several presidents before him have had -- the temporary ability to negotiate international trade deals that can be fast-tracked through Congress on an up-or-down vote without deal-breaking amendments. Such fast-track authority -- or, as it's now called, Trade Promotion Authority -- has factored into the passage of many trade pacts in the past, most notably the North American Free Trade Agreement….When a vote on Trade Promotion Authority comes before Congress (a bipartisan bill is expected to be introduced soon), it should be passed."
Los Angeles, CA -- Los Angeles Times: "Fast-Track Makes Sense"
"Globalization is happening with or without trade agreements. The goal of lawmakers and the administration alike should be to protect U.S. workers, consumers, entrepreneurs and investors by getting more of the planet to play by rules that look like ours, with real enforcement mechanisms. The fast-track bill proposed last week lays the groundwork not for waving such deals through Congress heedlessly but for negotiating and evaluating them. Congress should pass it, then wait to see whether the administration offers a version of the Pacific pact worth expediting."
Scranton, PA -- Scranton Times-Tribune: "Make TPP Work"
"Congressional leaders’ agreement to give President Obama authority to strike a free trade deal with 11 other nations around the vast Pacific Ocean simply recognizes reality. Asia likely will be the focus of global economic growth for some time, and common rules among the participating nations is one of the best ways to ensure that the growth is not primarily to the benefit of China….It is futile to pretend that the world is not globally interconnected. The objective is not to stifle deals, but to make the best deals possible."
"Beijing plans to invest $46 billion in Pakistani infrastructure projects, which will enable China to create shorter (and cheaper) trade routes not only to the Middle East, but also to Asia and Africa. It is part of President Xi’s goal to create a latter-day Silk Road over land and sea. Against that backdrop, a bipartisan bill was submitted Thursday to both the House and Senate that would grant President Obama so-called trade promotion authority as the administration pursues the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement between the United States and 11 nations representing 40 percent of the world’s output of goods and services….Meanwhile, he said, the free-trade agreement provides the U.S. “the opportunity to open up even more new markets to goods and services….With China ramping up its competition with the U.S. on the trade front, as evidenced by its announcement Sunday of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, that’s an opportunity this nation can ill afford to pass up."
Akron, OH -- Akron Beacon Journal: "Fast Track to Job Creation"
"Ohio companies sold $52 billion in goods and services overseas last year, an increase of 64 percent since 2004. Those efforts translated into 263,000 jobs for Ohioans, typically paying 18 percent more than the average wage. Of those companies, 89 percent rate as small- or medium-sized businesses….Consider that the middle class in the Asia-Pacific region has grown from 570 million people to 2.7 billion people the past 15 years. That reflects a market ripe with opportunity — if negotiations succeed in removing or lowering trade barriers, allowing greater access for American goods and services. That opportunity will be missed if Congress fails to give the president “trade promotion authority,” or fast-track authority, in negotiating the agreement."
"The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would be the largest trade deal in history, involving countries that account for nearly 40 percent of the world economy….The TPP is important to San Diego because, though this is the eighth-largest city in the country, and despite the fact we are a border city, the metro area ranks only 17th in the nation in gross domestic product. And it ranks only 61st in one key measure of exports. Increased trade with Asia would significantly improve those numbers….The stakes are high. We urge all members of the San Diego County congressional delegation to allow American negotiators to speak with one voice again by supporting the fast-track legislation and the subsequent trade agreements."