The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is a National Imperative
Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donahue detailed the importance of globalization and international trade to America’s economy and strategic interests in Help American Workers. Pass TPP. This message is especially important because the presidential candidates representing both major parties have made opposition to international trade, in general, and to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in particular cornerstones of their campaigns. They allege that trade weakens the U.S. economy and destroys American jobs. As Bloomberg and Donahue explain, nothing could be further from the truth, and fortunately, increasing numbers of Americans agree with their assessment. Support for free markets is an ALEC guiding principle and model policy on TPP was first adopted in 2010.
Trade ensures that consumer goods are affordable for American families and strengthens U.S. strategic and economic partnerships. International trade is responsible for 40 million American jobs, a fact that should give pause to anyone tempted to succumb to protectionist impulses. Worker dislocation is real, however; automation has resulted in the elimination of many more low-skilled manufacturing jobs than trade, and opting out of trade frameworks will exacerbate the problem not solve it. Other nations are not waiting for the United States to engage economically but are finalizing free trade agreements with or without the U.S. highlighting the imperative for American businesses – large and small – to compete globally. Asia-Pacific countries are in the process of negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade framework spearheaded by China to which the United States is not a party. RCEP does not feature the robust intellectual property, labor and environmental protections found in TPP.
In the years immediately following World War II, the United States wrote the rules that govern international trade to this day. Bringing rule of law to the international space is one of America’s greatest achievements and cemented the nation’s place as a preeminent global leader. Inaction on TPP risks ceding this position of leadership and risking that the rules of trade might be rewritten in ways that do not promote free markets and property rights – including intellectual property rights. These new rules would not be in the best interest of U.S. industries. Now is the time for America’s lawmakers to exhibit political courage. Embracing global opportunities will strengthen America’s economy and confirm U.S. leadership on the world stage.