– Today President Bush will call on the Senate to bring Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) to the Senate floor by April 22.
– Increased trade is vital to our economic security. The Senate needs to act quickly to give the President these important tools to create jobs and boost our economy. There are over 150 preferential trade agreements in the world today, and the U.S. is a party to only 3 (the European Union is a party to 31 and Mexico is a party to 10). While we have been delaying, other countries have been trading.
– Increased trade will help our workers, farmers and our economy by creating jobs, opening more markets to American goods and services, and increasing choices and lowering costs for consumers.
CONGRESSIONAL ACTION TO DATE ON TRADE
– In December, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan TPA legislation. The Senate Finance Committee quickly followed with a strong bipartisan vote of 18-3 in support of TPA. Last year the House passed and the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to expand and reauthorize the ATPA program. Now the full Senate must act.
WHY ARE TPA AND ATPA SO CRITICAL?
– TPA. President Bush has called on Congress to grant him TPA to reassert America\’s leadership on trade. The Executive Branch has not had TPA since 1994, and America\’s competitors have taken advantage in the interim. The rest of the world is moving forward and signing trade deals that exclude the United States. There are over 150 preferential trade agreements in the world today, and the U.S. is a party to only 3 (the European Union is a party to 31 and Mexico is a party to 10).
– ATPA. The ATPA program expired last year. This program creates economic alternatives to drug production and gives Andean governments tools to combat narco-terrorism. The duty deferral on ATPA goods implemented in February will expire on May 16 and cannot be extended. Without ATPA, Andean region countries will have fewer tools to create jobs, fight drugs, and reduce poverty.
THE BENEFITS OF TRADE
Expands and spurs growth in overseas markets for American goods and services;
Creates higher-paying American jobs;
Promotes U.S. security interests;
Supports America\’s small- and medium-size businesses that employ 3 out of 4 American workers;
Trade agreements like the NAFTA and the Uruguay Round have given American consumers greater choice and generated benefits for a typical family of $1,300 to $2,000 each year.
Economists say that lowering barriers to trade by even one-third will boost the world economy by as much as $613 billion – and boost the U.S. economy by $177 billion a year. To the typical family of 4, that means an additional $2,500 a year in savings. (January 2001 study by University of Michigan and Tufts University)