On May 22 the US Senate passed the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which will renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where a vote is quickly approaching. As a crucial component in the negotiation of free trade agreements – which open markets and level the playing field for US companies – TPA is a vital tool to help keep US and Spokane-region companies competitive in the global economy. And your vocal support of TPA and trade is greatly needed.
What is TPA?
As noted by the House Ways and Means Committee, TPA “is a partnership between Congress and the administration that helps secure the most effective trade agreements possible. It has three main components: a list of congressionally-prescribed negotiating objectives that sets priorities for the administration to follow; robust consultation and transparency requirements that give Congress adequate oversight of negotiations and give the public a full understanding of what an agreement would mean; and a streamlined procedure to vote on a trade agreement if the administration meets its TPA obligations.” The Office of the United State Trade Representative and the House Committee on Ways & Means further explain TPA.
The TPA bill, which recently passed the Senate with a broad bi-partisan majority of 62 senators (48 Republicans and 14 Democrats), is a sterling example of compromise. Introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), TPA deserves Congressional approval, as argued in an April Wall Street Journal editorial.
Why does trade matter for our region?
In 2013, total value of Spokane exports was more than $850 million. More than 10,000 jobs are directly supported by exports in in Washington’s 5th Congressional District. With more than 6,500 of those jobs being in manufacturing and 3,100 in crop production.
How you can help?
TPA will be going to a House vote very soon. And while there is broad support for TPA, opposition voices have been louder. So Congress needs to hear directly from the business community on the importance of trade and their support of TPA. Here are a few ways you can speak up:
- Visit this FAQ to learn more about why TPA is needed and how it impacts our region.
- Submit an op-ed or letter to the editor to The Spokesman-Review or your local paper. The US Chamber of Commerce provides a sample letter to help you get started.
- Call now to tell your Representative to vote YES on TPA. By calling 888-373-9401 you will be directly connected to your Representative.
- Write your Representative urging them to support TPA. The letter-writing tools of the Washington Council on International Trade and the US Chamber of Commerce make doing so easy.
- You can also share a trade testimonial.
- Share any of the above links or information on social media. You may also want to share this video that explains how TPA works and its importance.