Soapbox

Put Pacific trade deal on the fast track

A container ship is guided by tugboats as it arrives at the Port of Oakland to be unloaded last week. President Barack Obama is seeking fast-track authority to negotiate a deal to increase U.S. trade with Asia.
A container ship is guided by tugboats as it arrives at the Port of Oakland to be unloaded last week. President Barack Obama is seeking fast-track authority to negotiate a deal to increase U.S. trade with Asia. The Associated Press

Today, nearly 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power resides outside the United States, and this number is rising. As the global marketplace continues to grow, the strength of America’s economy will depend on our ability to successfully export our products.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim nations, is an unprecedented opportunity to do just that. This is why I am urging my congressman, Rep. Ami Bera, to support President Barack Obama’s request for fast-track authority to complete the TPP negotiations.

Fast-track authority has been granted to every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to accomplish our goals in international trade negotiations. Under its terms, Congress helps determine the overall objectives of a proposed trade agreement. Once the terms of the agreement are finalized between the president and foreign heads of state, Congress is then held to a yes-or-no vote, without the ability to amend. This procedure assures our trade partners that the pact they form with the president will not change during the process of congressional approval.

Without fast track, finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership with America’s trade priorities intact will be significantly more difficult.

Why do the success of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and similar trade agreements matter? International trade supports roughly 4.7 million California jobs, or about 1 in 5. More than 40 percent of the goods that California exports are received by our free trade partners. Increasing the number and scope of these relationships allows our economy to thrive with increased demand for our goods and services from outside our borders.

Additionally, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will standardize international rules among our trading partners to protect the innovation of California’s businesses. From the intellectual property at the core of our tech sector to the cultural contributions of Hollywood, the TPP will help to guarantee our industries are properly compensated for their achievements, incentivizing continued advancements and offerings.

To support fast-track authority is to support California’s job market and the U.S. economy as a whole.

Tom Scott owns a governmental affairs consulting firm in Folsom.

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