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Trading on the Oregon Trail: What Small Businesses Are Saying About the TPP

From morning tea to a ride to work, Oregonians depend on small businesses—and in turn, these businesses depend on accessibility to world markets in order to expand and hire more employees.

President Obama is traveling to northern Oregon tomorrow to visit the headquarters of Nike and discuss the ways that both large and small American businesses can benefit from increased access to trade. The President’s trade deal — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — would open up new markets, support high-quality jobs, protect the environment, raise human rights and labor standards around the world, and level the playing field for American workers.

While every state stands to benefit from the President’s trade deal, few states would benefit more than Oregon. Exporting a record $20.9 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world in 2014 and supporting 86,000 jobs throughout the state, trade is a substantial driver of Oregon’s economy. Also, three out of Oregon’s top five export markets will be covered by the TPP, and this high-standards trade deal will further unlock opportunity for businesses and foster even greater economic and job growth.

From Portland to Medford, nearly 6,000 Oregon companies exported in 2013. And while the President is visiting one of the state’s largest businesses tomorrow, 88% of these Oregon businesses were small and medium-sized businesses — generating more than a third of the state’s total exports of merchandise in 2013.

Whether a cup of morning tea or a ride to work, these are small businesses that Oregonians depend on — and in turn, these businesses depend on accessibility to world markets in order to expand and hire more employees. 

Here are some of Oregon's small businesses that stand to benefit from the President's trade deal:  

A Cup of Morning Tea

Portland-based Stash Tea Company has developed export sales over the past several years. Their exports accounted for about 20 percent of the company’s annual sales in 2014. President of Stash Tea Company Tom Lisicki says the TPP would make exporting and trade a lot easier for his company.

Listen here. 

A Ride Through One of America’s Most Bike-Friendly Cities

With around 100 employees, Portland-based Chris King Precision Components manufactures bicycle parts. Profiting from trade to nations including Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, exports accounted for 40 percent of the company’s total sales in 2013. CEO Chris King sees trade as one of his company’s biggest assets. “All employees are supported by our export sales,” he said. “We see exports as our biggest potential.”

A Glass of Wine or a Fresh Brew

Located in Dayton, Sokol Blosser Winery is a vineyard, tasting room, and winery facility that also sells their product internationally. Two of their three top export markets are TPP member countries, and their exports to Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan combined make up 20 percent of their revenue. The TPP will help remove tariffs for U.S. wineries selling overseas, which currently hover around 55 percent. 

A Friendly Greeting Card

Based in Portland and employing 20 people, Egg Press is a letterpress greeting card company that profits from both domestic and global sales. In recent years, Egg Press has seen an emerging market in two TPP countries: Japan and Australia.

“I would call it a new frontier,” said CEO Tess Darrow. “In Japan, we could do half the volume we currently do in the U.S.” The TPP would be the first trade agreement to include a chapter on Small Businesses meant to make it easier for companies like Egg Press to reach customers overseas. With reduced tariffs and streamlined regulations, Egg Press would continue growing and be able to employ more Oregonians.

Tune in tomorrow as President Obama visits the headquarters of Nike and discusses the ways that both large and small American businesses can benefit from increased access to trade. Oregon is not the only state that will benefit from the TPP; see how your state stands to benefit.

You can learn more about the President's trade deal here