Coalition Keeps Pushing for Federal Bill Promoting Trade

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InternationalFederal legislation renewing the authority for the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate trade agreements hit a snag this week as the U.S. Senate failed to pass a proposal to begin debating the merits of the bill.

The California Chamber of Commerce is part of a coalition that is continuing to press Congress and the California congressional delegation to quickly pass the bill because it will help boost U.S. exports and create American jobs.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

Trade is an important engine for U.S. economic growth and jobs. With 11.7 million U.S. jobs tied to exports and 95% of the world’s population abroad, U.S. engagement in the international marketplace is more important than ever.

CalChamber Vice President of International Affairs Susanne T. Stirling has emphasized the importance for congressional leaders of both parties to know this legislation is critical to companies, workers, farmers, and ranchers in California.

California is a top exporting state with one of the 10 largest economies in the world and a gross state product exceeding $2 trillion.

Every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been granted the authority to negotiate market-opening trade agreements in consultation with Congress.

Several hundred free trade agreements (FTAs) are in force worldwide, with the United States party to just a handful.

For example, both Canada and Mexico have FTAs with Chile. Mexico has more than 45 FTAs with countries and blocs, including Japan, Israel and the European Union. Chile has more than 50 FTAs with countries worldwide.

Opening Markets

By approving trade promotion authority, Congress can help strategically address the range of U.S. trade negotiations being pursued, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the United States and Asia-Pacific region, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and European Union.

Trade promotion authority is vital for the President of the United States to negotiate new multilateral, bilateral and sectoral agreements that will continue to tear down barriers to trade and investment, expand markets for U.S. farmers and businesses and create higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs for U.S. workers.

Action Needed

The CalChamber is calling on members to contact their U.S. senators and representatives in Congress to urge support for TPA-2015.

An easy-to-edit sample letter is available in the grassroots action center at www.calchambervotes.com.

More information is available at www.calchamber.com/tpa.

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

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Susanne T. Stirling
About Susanne T. Stirling
Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs, has headed the CalChamber’s International Trade Department since 1982. She serves on the District Export Council (appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce), the National Export Council Steering Committee, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Committee, and the Chile-California Council. She studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California.