In the coming weeks, the U.S. Congress will have the opportunity to take a step that will significantly advance free trade and our economy –renewing Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA.
For three decades, U.S. presidents have had the authority to negotiate complex trade deals with other nations, and present the results for an up-or-down vote. Congress last passed this trade authorization in 2002 and since then, the US has added trade agreements with 16 countries.
It is critical Congress reauthorize this important legislative tool to ensure the U.S. maintains a credible bargaining position and continues our leadership position in the increasingly competitive global economy and international trade community.
TPA allows the U.S. trade agenda to keep pace with our fast moving trading partners. TPA ensures Congressional oversight of trade negotiations. It enables Congress to set its priorities for the U.S. trade agenda and it provides the framework for consultation between the Administration and Congress as negotiations move forward.
Over the last 12 years, much has changed with American businesses - they face much tougher competitive environments and face protectionist barriers that tilt the playing field against them. By approving TPA, we'll help remove those barriers and give American companies a fair shot at selling their goods and services to the 95 percent of the world's consumers outside of our borders.
For a flavour of just how important trade is to our economy, one only need look at the impact it has on American jobs in every corner of the country. The U.S. Trade Representative estimates every $1 billion of exported goods and services is supported by more than 5,000 jobs – whether it be in agriculture, technology or manufacturing. In 2012 alone, the $2.2 trillion in U.S. exports equaled 9.8 million American jobs.
From the FedEx perspective, making global trade easier, faster and more reliable is our business. Our long history and experience of moving goods around the world has taught us lowering barriers such as tariffs and bureaucratic red tape helps entrepreneurs and companies expand their businesses and reach new markets.
Three important treaties now in negotiations are poised to set the foundation for modern, 21st century trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership with partners in the Pacific Rim and Latin America, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union, and the Trade in International Services Agreement. These agreements will set high standards on 21st Century trade issues, such as intellectual property, cross border data transfer, supply chains and state-owned enterprises.
Trade Promotion Authority will help bring these agreements across the finish line and enable the United States to negotiate additional market-opening agreements in the future. Let's demonstrate American leadership to the world and keep America's economy moving forward. Let's renew TPA.
Michael L. Ducker is president, International of FedEx Express. He is responsible for setting strategy and overseeing business operations for the company's four international regions, as well as its U.S. Export business and Express Freight Services.