What They're Saying: The Senate Should Vote Yes on Trade Promotion Authority

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Senate gets ready to vote on the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, a growing number of news outlets have written editorials and prominent voices are continuing to speak out in support of trade promotion authority for President Obama. Following is a round up of excerpts from some recent pieces:

Editorial: Give Asia-Pacific trade deal a chance
Sacramento Bee

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If done right, however, this deal could shape U.S. trade policy for the 21st century — and boost California’s economy.

The state’s $174 billion in exports last year led the nation, and California also leads the states in exports to Asia. Three of California’s top four export markets — Mexico, Canada and Japan — are part of the 12-nation TPP, whose members account for more than 40 percent of the state’s total exports.

The pact could open more markets in areas of strength, including agriculture and technology. The deal could add reasonable protections for intellectual property, another sector where California excels.

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Like it or not, globalization is here. The real question is how America can steer it in ways that boost our economy. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a significant opportunity to do that. There’s every reason to see what the negotiations produce before a final verdict.

Editorial: Grow Illinois Jobs, Back Obama On Pacific Trade
Chicago Tribune

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Illinois farmers have customers around the world. Only one state exports more corn and soybeans. Illinois beef and pork producers will benefit if Asian countries cut tariffs and other barriers, allowing their consumers to eat more American protein. The administration also hopes to pry open foreign markets for American services, from consulting to insurance. Illinois' service exports are easy to overlook, but they've grown by 63 percent since 2006.

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Globalization is woven into our economic fabric, and Illinois can prosper by making the most of the opportunities offered by freer trade.

Editorial: Fast-Track Trade Deal: Our View
USA TODAY

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, as the deal is called, is a no-brainer. It is not a trade deal in the classic sense as manufactured goods already flow fairly freely to and from Asia and the Americas. 

Rather, it is principally a set of rules for how commerce and capitalism should be conducted in an era of emerging nations and emerging technologies.

It includes protections for intellectual property and rules on financial services, both of which are sorely lacking in much of the world and would benefit U.S. companies and their employees. It also includes restrictions on state-sponsored capitalism. 

Editorial: Senate wise to move ahead on fast-track trade authority
Cleveland Plain Dealer

This fast-track trade authority is needed to give the president the ability to move ahead to finalize significant trade, investment and market-opening deals designed to promote exports and the U.S. jobs they support — fast-track authority that previous presidents have enjoyed.

A well-constructed trade agreement can be an overall benefit to the U.S. economy as long as proper worker and environmental safeguards are in place. The Obama administration contends that is the case with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal U.S. trade negotiators hope to reach with 11 countries later this year.

Editorial: On The Fast Track, Where The President Belongs
Beacon Journal

Consider that the partnership represents a key element of the president’s worthy “pivot” to Asia. It would serve as a counter to Chinese influence, Beijing with its own ideas about shared rules for trade, almost surely less favorable. The agreement would open doors to selling American goods and services to a rapidly expanding Asian middle class. It addresses new avenues for trade, including e-commerce and cross-border Internet communications. It aims to improve labor and environmental standards, plus enhance protections for intellectual property and reduce the footprint of state-subsidized businesses.

 That is why the president deserves clean fast-track authority — so he can bring a finished product to Capitol Hill. The country must do better in responding to globalization and income inequality, via such avenues as training and education, the tax code and wage insurance. What doesn’t make sense is denying companies and their workers wider access to overseas markets, so they can increase sales and even add jobs. 

Editorial: Arizona Democrats can't afford to fight trade deal
The Arizona Republic

Global free trade is happening whether the unions like it or not. The only difference will be whether the trade teams of the United States help write the rules for trade among the markets of the Pacific Rim, or whether China does.

 It would approach economic disaster to assume that the U.S. should cut itself out of the fastest-growing sector of the world economy.

Opinion: Towards A Smarter, More Progressive Approach To Trade
Boulder Weekly | Congressman Jared Polis

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As Obama said last week, speaking to a crowd in Oregon about his trade agenda, “we can’t stand on the beaches and stop the global economy at our shores. We’ve got to harness it on our terms.” I’m doing everything I can to make sure we’re harnessing the 21st century global economy in a way that benefits Colorado and protects our environment and human rights.

I believe in the power of America to do good in the world. If President Obama can accomplish what he is setting out to do with TPP and what we are directing him to do in the Smart Tracks — protecting fisheries and wildlife, banning child labor, protecting habitats, fighting piracy and theft of intellectual property, ensuring a free and open internet and increasing market access for made-in-America products in Japan and other nations — then count me in!

Opinion: Renewing Trade Authority Legislation Benefits Tennessee
The Tennessean | John Bozzella

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So what does the renewal of TPA mean for Tennessee? It means more trade agreements to keep local industries competitive. It means a positive environment for companies like Nissan and its Smyrna facility, which currently employs more than 8,000 Tennesseans. It means a strong future for companies like Volkswagen, whose $1 billion investment in its Chattanooga plant has fostered income growth of approximately $12 billion across Tennessee.

We can’t throw these amazing opportunities for growth away to other countries that have established free-trade agreements with their own trading partners. That economic reality — and opportunity for the United States — rests on the approval of Trade Promotion Authority. 

Opinion: Free Trade Could Bring Investment, Jobs To Businesses Like Mine
The Hill | Jack Cannon  

The success of Cannon Industries has also been driven by international trade, as our largest clients, such as Cummins Inc., use our manufactured parts to build products that are exported to customers around the world. When our customers can reach new markets abroad, my company and its employees benefit here at home. International trade has enabled us to diversify product capabilities, share in cost reduction initiatives, and, perhaps most importantly, create jobs in the United States. In fact, Cannon recently announced the expansion of our operations to Dallas, Texas. 

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TPA is vital for the passage of trade agreements — only one trade agreement has been passed in the last 40 years without it. TPA expired in 2007, and the time has come for Congress to step up and pass this legislation as soon as possible. For businesses like mine, potential new contracts, investments, and jobs hang in the balance.

Opinion: The Rise Of The Micro-Multinational, And Why It Matters To The U.S. Economy
San Jose Mercury News | Penny Pritzker And Devin Wenig

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Ninety-six percent of the world's customers live outside our borders. We need new, high-standard trade agreements to create sustainable growth for our businesses, our workers and our economy.

The Asia Pacific, with a middle class expected to grow to 3.2 billion by 2030, offers a great example. Negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership will enable American firms to take advantage of these fast-expanding markets on fair terms. Today, more than 35 percent of exports by U.S.-based SMBs on eBay go to TPP nations. We need an agreement in this region that will ensure that countries allow the secure free flow of consumer data, which is essential for e-commerce companies to connect with new customers. Trade agreements must also improve customs systems and reduce unfair practices that discourage SMBs from exporting.

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To ensure that any new trade deals address the top concerns of U.S. businesses, Congress must pass trade promotion legislation. Trade promotion legislation will lay out clear guidelines that give this administration and future administrations the tools and objectives needed to negotiate high-quality agreements consistent with our values.

Opinion: Trade Authority And Free Trade Will Boost Houston's Economy
Houston Chronicle | Chris Tomlinson

The U.S. Senate took a major step toward granting President Barack Obama authority to negotiate globe-spanning free trade deals, agreements that will boost the economies of the largest exporting state and metropolitan area in the nation: Texas and Houston. 

Houston earns about $100 billion from exports every year, while Texas earns about $300 billion, according to the U.S. State Department. 

I've made no secret of my support for the Trans Pacific Partnership. The Senate vote is good news for Houston because it will expand the markets where local companies can operate.

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