Speaking from the Port of New Orleans today, President Obama highlighted the need to boost exports and increase investments in infrastructure. Manufacturers couldn’t agree more.
The United States is currently participating in only 2 trade agreement negotiations, while hundreds have been negotiated and dozens more are being negotiated that exclude the United States. That’s why we strongly believe any conversation about boosting exports must begin with renewal of a broad and durable Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) framework that prioritizes market access, fair treatment and strong standards.
The trade agreements the United States has negotiated under TPA with 20 countries around the world are opening markets and giving manufacturers better access to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside the United States. In fact, the United States enjoys a $130 billion manufacturing trade surplus with our trade agreement partners.
Every President since Franklin Roosevelt has had trade negotiating authority. Yet, TPA was last renewed in 2002 and has been expired since mid-2007. Congress and the Administration needs to move forward to get bipartisan TPA done so manufacturers can compete on a level playing field and further reach the ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers that live outside our borders.
Like President Obama, Manufacturers are also concerned about the adequacy and efficiency of our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Broad-based, jobs-creating investment in upgrades, expansion and modernization of our nation’s transportation network is an essential component of any effort to boost US exports and increase competitiveness.
Most recently, the House and Senate passed bi-partisan WRDA legislation that funds the inland waterways and ports manufacturers use to move key commodities and finished products to customers here and abroad. Manufacturers look forward to the enactment of this critical legislation.
The future of manufacturing rests largely on our ability to reach new markets abroad. Promoting exports is a national priority, and that starts with a strong TPA and dependable infrastructure.