Last week, TACC hosted a White House briefing with local chamber members regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement. Bill Craft, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic Affairs with the U.S. Department of State provided a very informative overview of the proposed agreement and facilitated a question and answer session with attendees.According to Bill Craft, tariffs for products being imported into the United States are generally set at 1.7%, which is why foreign countries are so interested in gaining access to U.S. markets—we represent a huge buying pool of consumers with expendable income. On the other hand, U.S. companies exporting abroad are often faced with high tariffs on U.S. products ranging from 20% – 50% and sometimes even as high as 100%. While international consumers are eager to buy products made in the USA, tariffs are set so high that potential consumers are not able to afford our products!
The purpose of the TPP is ensure that participating countries lower trade barriers, reduce tariffs, make a commitment to protect the environment and follow internationally recognized labor standards. The passage of the TPP will have immediate positive ramifications for the US in that businesses will have access to trade with partner countries that represent 30% of all global trade–an estimated 800 million consumers!
Understandably, President Obama would like to get the TPP in place in order to create jobs in the U.S. as soon as possible and to prevent interference that generally occurs when candidates are facing primary elections. Should partner countries refuse to engage in the terms of the agreement, economic sanctions can be initiated. Simplified customs procedures, electronic forms, and guarantees that participating countries will not limit military purchases to same-country producers are all excellent reasons to promote passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement. While the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce does not take an official position on implementation of the TPP at this time, having Bill Craft speak to business leaders and chamber members is another example of how the Torrance Chamber provides value to its members.
TACC Board Member Ellenmary Michel
Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources, Pelican Products, Inc.