Guest Column: TPA Will Boost Jobs & Economy

By Sen. Orrin Hatch

The Senate is currently considering my Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation—a tool that will strengthen Congress’s role in international trade agreements— and ensure that American-made goods find their way to more customers around the world. Passing this critically important bill will create more jobs and help grow our economy. While President Obama and I often disagree, I am grateful that he is supporting our bipartisan effort to open up new markets and create more opportunities for hard-working Americans.

 Our efforts have received a significant amount of support, particularly back in Utah. Jim Webb, President of the Utah Pork Producers Association, wrote an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune highlighting the different ways TPA will help farmers and agricultural workers in Utah. Nigel Steward, Managing Director of Rio Tinto Kennecott in South Jordan, also wrote in the Tribune about how TPA will increase Utah exports, allowing companies like his to sell more products to customers around the world and create more jobs and opportunities at home. Matthew Shay of the National Retail Federation wrote in Fox News about how TPA will lead to lower costs for American families and more jobs in Utah, where trade already supports 64,000 Utah workers.

Here are a few facts about our trade efforts. 

TPA strengthens Congress’s role while constraining the President's.

TPA requires the President to submit any trade agreement to the public months before it’s voted on or passed. The President’s authority is constrained while Congress’s role is increased. (Read more:  Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan: Putting Congress in Charge on Trade)

  Trade helps Americans.

Ninety-eight percent of U.S. exporting companies are small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees. In Utah, 80% of the businesses that export have fewer than 500 employees. These are the companies and employees that will feel the most benefit. TPA is about lowering trade barriers to help all exporting companies sell their products to a larger market of customers around the world. Additionally, the White House released a report suggesting that trade boosts the purchasing power of low-income Americans by over 60% by giving them access to less-expensive goods. (Read more: The Hill:  The Little-Noticed Role of Trade in Small Business Success)

TPA is a publicly available bill for all to see.

TPA is a publicly available bill, and the negotiations have been transparent. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), however, is not yet publicly available because the terms of the trade agreement are still being negotiated. TPA will actually REQUIRE that the final text of TPP is posted publicly online before Congress votes on it. Should the President ignore Congress’s input, Congress can reject the final legislation implementing the agreement. (Read more:  The Federalist:  Don’t Drink the “Obamatrade” Snake Oil)

Trade deals are not being rushed through without the American people’s approval.

If TPA were enacted today, the earliest possible vote for TPP or any other trade agreement would be in mid-December under the new consultation timeline and public review requirements. (Read more:  Congressional Research Service:  Trade Promotion Authority: Frequently Asked Questions)

TPA doesn't allow the President to change immigration policy.

TPA has absolutely nothing to do with immigration law. There are no immigration provisions being considered with TPA, and TPA explicitly states that “it will not require changes in any party’s immigration laws or procedures.” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has made clear: “The United States is not negotiating and will not agree to anything in TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) that would require any modification to U.S. Immigration law or policy or any changes to the U.S. Visa system.” (Read more: Paul Ryan:  No, TPA has nothing to do with the President’s Immigration Agenda)

TPA doesn't affect our gun rights.

The United States is not negotiating any changes to U.S. gun laws in any trade agreements. This suggestion is baseless. Transparency safeguards will ensure that rights, such as those protected in the Second Amendment, are not infringed. (Read more:  House Ways and Means: Could TPA Take Away Your Guns? Not a Chance)