Congressional Discussion Heats Up on Crucial Free Trade Legislation

A vibrant domestic economy relies on the ability of American companies to move their goods and services not just to customers within the United States, but also to the 95 percent of the global population living outside our borders. Various tariffs and restrictions place too many constraints on access to these international markets, but members of Congress can help level the playing field for domestic companies by approving Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would broaden access to foreign markets and provide authorization for several vital free trade agreements currently under consideration.

Last week, members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation authorizing the renewal of TPA. However, House Democrats and organized labor groups prevented the passage of another piece of legislation authorizing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a bill that also required passage in order for TPA to take effect. With TPA now hanging in the balance, the House is expected to take another vote on TAA early this week and the fight is expected to be fiercely contested.

Trade agreements negotiated and concluded under TPA help drive economic growth and job creation here at home. One in four manufacturing jobs in the United States depends on exports, and one in every three acres of farmland is planted for consumers overseas. More than 97 percent of the 300,000 U.S. companies that export are small and medium-sized businesses. In May, the North Carolina Chamber sent this letter to our Congressional delegation to make our case for the importance of passing Trade Promotion Authority for U.S. jobs, economic growth and competitiveness. We will continue to update you as the discussion around TPA progresses in the House.

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