Mayors See Opportunity in Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Local Economies, Small Businesses
By PRN NewsWire
ATLANTA, Oct. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Touring a manufacturing facility in downtown Atlanta today, mayors representing The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) called on negotiators to complete a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal before leaving the city. Atlanta (GA) Mayor Kasim Reed, who hosted the event and chairs USCM’s Transportation and Communications Committee, was joined by United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, Little Rock (AR) Mayor Mark Stodola, Chair of the Conference’s Exports and Ports Task Force, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Columbia (SC) Mayor Steven Benjamin.
Trade negotiators from 12 Trans Pacific nations, including the United States, are meeting in Atlanta this week in an attempt to secure a final deal. This summer, Congress, with support of the mayors, passed Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which paved the way for final negotiations to proceed. The nations negotiating the deal represent 40% of the global economy. At its 84(th) Annual meeting in San Francisco last June, the mayors adopted policy calling for the Administration to complete a Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
“Through TPP and our other trade agreements, we want to make it more possible to open markets and support good jobs,” said Ambassador Froman. “TPP is the first trade agreement ever to have a particular focus on small and medium-sized businesses, to make sure TPP is working for companies like Colgate.”
“The metropolitan Atlanta area is already the thirteenth largest exporter in the United States, but our region has a tremendous opportunity to further grow exports, grow the economy and create jobs with the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership presents an unprecedented opportunity for access to vital markets across the world. It will not only raise labor and environmental standards, but make us more competitive in the global economy.”
Mayor Stodola said that the TPP deal would be a first of its kind by incorporating enforceable labor and environmental standards, along with a uniform tariff system that would benefit many U.S. companies. “The reality is the Asian middle class will explode over the coming decades and is desirous of U.S. made products. We need a level playing field to make sure U.S. companies can compete.”
The mayors toured Colgatekids.com, a third generation, family-owned manufacturer of high quality crib mattresses, pads and accessories. “Expanding our distribution internationally will not only increase our need for additional employees, but also the volume of raw goods sourced here in the U.S.,” said Colgate Mattress President Alan Wolkin. “This includes key components such as metal coils, foams and cover materials. Our entire ecosystem of crib mattress manufacturing would benefit over the long haul.”
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative,
— during the last five years, U.S. exports have hit record highs, reaching $2.34 trillion in 2014, up roughly 50% since 2009; — over 300,000 American companies export goods, 98% of which are small- and medium-sized businesses; — exports of goods and services supported 11.7 million jobs in the United States in 2014; — from 2009 to 2014, exports have supported an additional 1.8 million jobs, and each billion dollars of exports supports more than 5,000 jobs, on average; — jobs in export-intensive industries pay up to 18% more on average than jobs in other industries; — expanded trade has added roughly $13,000, on average, to each American family’s income.
“Cities need to be able to do business with the world. Last year, $5.8 billion in local merchandise was exported from the Tampa area. Our top trade partners, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico all have one thing in common – we have trade agreements with these counties,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Florida’s economy depends on trade. The TPP will continue to foster the innovation and economic growth needed to support our workforce.”
“U.S. city metros are major players in the global economy. In fact, thirty-six of the world’s largest economies are U.S. Metros. A Trans Pacific trade agreement will further advance our standing in the global economy by creating even more U.S. jobs,” said Mayor Benjamin.
About The United States Conference of Mayors — The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.
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