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Connecting Economies for Growth: Secretary Pritzker on Why the TPP Matters

October 26, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

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This week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker sat down with Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown in Chicago to discuss the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) for U.S. businesses of all sizes. Their discussion was the focal point of a Motorola town hall in which employees had the opportunity to hear first-hand about the trade agreement. TPP is the most ambitious, high-standard trade agreement ever negotiated by the United States. Economic benefits of the agreement include the elimination of more than 18,000 tariffs and the elimination of discriminatory trade barriers that prevent U.S. companies from doing business in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meeting

U.S. Secretary Commerce Penny Pritzker and Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown at an armchair discussion in Chicago.

Secretary Pritzker and Mr. Brown discussed why TPP’s approval is important for U.S. employers and workers. In 2015, 4.1 million American jobs were supported by goods and services exports to the 11 TPP countries. With the agreement in place, there is an opportunity to create more jobs by reducing barriers to American exports of goods and services.

TPP also benefits employers and workers by allowing the U.S. to shape the rules of the global economy. For example, TPP contains the toughest labor protections of any U.S. trade agreement in history by requiring strong, enforceable standards in each partner country. In addition, TPP is the first Free Trade Agreement to require criminal penalties for trade secret theft, including by means of a computer system.

Small and medium-sized businesses will also benefit from TPP. For the first time in any trade agreement, there is a dedicated chapter on small and medium-sized businesses that focuses on how these firms can benefit from trade. TPP will address trade barriers that pose disproportionate challenges to small businesses, such as high tariffs, overly complex trade paperwork, corruption, customs “red tape,” restrictions on Internet data flows, weak logistics services that raise costs, and slow delivery of small shipments.

Secretary Pritzker underscored that TPP will promote American leadership and values internationally. Many TPP partners continue to not only welcome, but rely on a strong U.S. presence for everything from keeping the seas open for trade to protecting their territorial integrity. TPP will make the U.S. stronger abroad, bringing the U.S. closer together with allies and enhancing security and stability across the entire Asia-Pacific.

As Secretary Pritzker took questions from Mr. Brown and Motorola employees, she stressed that there will be consequences for American workers, and American businesses if TPP is not approved by Congress this year. She noted failure to approve TPP could cost the U.S. economy $94 billion each year in lost economic opportunities. The Secretary also emphasized the strategic consequences of inaction, affirming that countries like New Zealand, Vietnam, and Malaysia already have trade agreements with China, thus American exporters today have to pay the full tariff rates that their Chinese competitors do not. She stressed that the U.S. cannot afford to miss this opportunity to secure influence in the Asia-Pacific and ensure American businesses can compete.

To hear more about TPP from Greg Brown and Secretary Pritzker listen to their radio interview with WBEZ Chicago’s Worldview.

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