Open Letter from Former Governors Urges Fellow Democrats to Support the Trans-Pacific Partnership

WASHINGTON, DC – 14 former governors released an open letter today urging fellow Democrats to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership to strengthen the U.S. economy. Released in collaboration with the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs, this letter highlights the pivotal role that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will play in state and local economies – and the positive impact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have in supporting thousands of higher-paying jobs.

Fellow Democrats,

We are writing to urge our fellow Democrats to join us in supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This agreement will promote sustainable growth, support higher-quality, higher-paying jobs through new export opportunities, and establish strong and enforceable rules of engagement that will level the playing field for American workers. 

We know exports play a vital role in economic development, and the U.S. has seen five consecutive years of record-setting exports – we exported $2.35 trillion of our goods and services last year. Trade has strengthened our economy since the Great Recession, and the more we trade outside our borders, the more jobs we support here at home. With export-supported jobs paying up to 18 percent higher on average, trade-related growth in communities across the country is creating jobs and raising wages. Whether it’s the poultry farmer in Missouri, the semiconductor-manufacturing worker in California, or the beef producer in Colorado, their jobs depend on exports, and their families count on strong and lasting trade partnerships.

As Democratic leaders of states throughout the country, we’ve seen firsthand how a strong manufacturing base drives competitiveness and growth across our economy. The TPP will support American manufacturing jobs by phasing out all tariffs on American manufactured goods, like Vietnam’s 70% and Malaysia’s 30% foreign tax on US-made cars and trucks. The TPP will also reduce non-tariff trade barriers to create increased export opportunities for American-produced goods like tractors and cutting-edge textiles. And the TPP opens massive market access for American manufacturers to the projected 3.2 billion middle class consumers living in Asia by 2030. 

We believe in confronting the critical challenge of protecting our planet – and the TPP puts environmental provisions at its core, taking advantage of a historic opportunity to slow and stop illegal fishing, deforestation, and endangered wildlife trafficking. In addition to adding teeth to the enforcement of vital new environmental conservation obligations, the TPP improves accessibility to green technologies by eliminating tariffs on solar panels, wind turbines, wastewater treatment systems, air pollution control equipment, and air and water quality analyzers.


We also believe in the importance of creating sustainable and inclusive economic growth that improves food security, reduces poverty, fights corruption, and supports good governance through greater accountability, participation, and transparency. The TPP establishes a framework for ensuring its partner countries meet their obligations towards inclusive growth, so that they cultivate strong and sustainable economies and high-standard markets for American goods and services.

This agreement will set enforceable rules of the road that will become the new global standard. TPP countries must adopt and uphold: fundamental labor rights, including freedom of association; the right to collective bargaining, and the effective abolition of child labor; cutting-edge digital freedoms, like protecting a free and open Internet, enabling cross-border data flows, and delivering enforceable consumer protections; and robust intellectual property protections. 

We have led different states from coast to coast with diverse populations and economies, and we’re committed to policies that generate opportunities for American businesses, create more higher-paying jobs to strengthen the middle class, and conserve our environment for the future. When 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders, we’re in a race to secure market access, set the standards for how the world trades, and strengthen the foundation for our 21st century economy. Accordingly, we urge fellow Democrats to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ensure America leads on trade.

Phil Bredesen
Former Governor, Tennessee

Richard Celeste
Former Governor, Ohio

Jim Doyle
Former Governor, Wisconsin

Jim Florio
Former Governor, New Jersey

Christine Gregoire
Former Governor, Washington

Jim Hodges
Former Governor, South Carolina

Gary Locke
Former Governor, Washington

Deval Patrick
Former Governor, Massachusetts

Paul Patton
Former Governor, Kentucky

Ed Rendell
Former Governor, Pennsylvania

Bill Richardson
Former Governor, New Mexico

Bill Ritter
Former Governor, Colorado

Roy Romer
Former Governor, Colorado

Kathleen Sebelius
Former Governor, Kansas


The Progressive Coalition for American Jobs brings together progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers and building a stronger economy for all of us.

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