Every corner of Ohio, from our farms to our factories, benefits from trade, and the reason is simple. Trade pacts allow us to expand exports with other nations and reach new customers for Ohio small businesses, manufacturers, and farmers.
That is why TPA, short for Trade Promotion Authority, is so important.
TPA is the framework in which we can negotiate trade pacts, and it ensures we secure the best trade agreements possible for Ohio workers and farmers. In our state, one in five jobs depends on trade. In agriculture, Ohio is the 10th largest exporter in the country and the pork industry alone supports more than 8,700 jobs.
Phillip, a pork producer in Preble County, recently wrote in an email that strong trade pacts mean more opportunities and growth for his business.
“For over 40 years my family has produced pork in Preble County,” Phillip wrote. “I know firsthand how difficult it is to stay in this business and make a profit. TPA is important because it will allow the TPP negotiations among Pacific Rim countries that could provide many new opportunities for exporting pork.”
TPA puts lawmakers in the driver’s seat to set clear objectives, ensure transparency, and hold the administration accountable in trade negotiations with other countries, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Phillip mentioned.
Here are just three of the ways how: First, TPA requires the administration to allow Congress to read trade agreements at any time during the negotiating process. Along the way, TPA requires the administration to post up-to-date summaries on their progress to the public. And at least 60 days before the president enters into an agreement, the president must make it publicly available for everyone to read.
With TPA, we will ensure trade agreements are in line with the people’s priorities. If the president negotiates an agreement that doesn’t meet our objectives, we can stop the trade agreement with an up or down vote and shut off the ‘fast-tracked’ trade authority if it is a bad deal.
To be clear, TPA doesn’t give more power to the president. In fact, we’ve given previous administrations, including President Reagan, this authority for the past 40 years. TPA sets the rules and even strengthens the House and Senate’s role in trade negotiations, while also giving the American people a say in the process.
Whether on a farm like Phillip’s or in a factory in Ohio, strong trade agreements are good for jobs. That is why conservatives, focused on robust economic growth, are lining up behind it. Americans for Tax Reform, for example, is one of TPA’s supporters and “urges all free market conservatives on and off Capitol Hill to be as well.”
I couldn’t agree more. With 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside the United States and jobs tied to trade paying more than the average wage, more trade means more jobs, better business, and higher wages here at home. To unlock this potential in Ohio, TPA is critically important.