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Free trade supports American jobs

Congress – as has become the norm in recent years – faces grinding gridlock on dozens of issues today, but there’s one issue that has a real chance at success in Congress that will create American jobs, support leadership of the U.S. technology industry around the world, and drive economic growth here at home.

That issue is free trade.  This week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced bipartisan, bicameral Trade Promotion Authority legislation (TPA) in Congress. These members are to be commended for their leadership, and passage of this legislation is absolutely critical.

{mosads}For those not familiar with Congress-speak, “Trade Promotion Authority” legislation would not only give Congress more power to direct the administration on what it needs to achieve in trade negotiations, but also to choose when to give a negotiated trade agreement a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, expedited vote. This helps our nation’s negotiators secure the best possible deal for our country, while strengthening Congress’s role in the completion of a trade negotiation.

As a company with over 35,000 U.S. employees and that conducts billions of dollars of R&D here in the U.S., Cisco strongly supports TPA and believes that it is a critical part of ensuring U.S. competitiveness around the globe. 

Here’s why:

It used to be that American companies would sell products almost universally to American customers.  But times have changed over the past 50 years.  For Cisco, we sell approximately 50 percent of our products to American customers and 50 percent of our products abroad.  If we don’t have a level playing field, we cannot effectively compete.

Just as importantly, data, today, moves around the globe at lightening speed.  We have all come to depend on this very fact when we send an email or watch a video online. 

At our facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, for instance, some 4,500 plus jobs are supported by free trade, including hundreds of jobs at our technical assistance center.  These individuals provide technical support to customers around the global, as well as collaborate with engineers in other parts of the world.  This type of collaboration would simply not be possible without trade and the ability to send data freely over the Internet across geographic borders. Put another way, our engineers in North Carolina couldn’t help customers in Europe, Asia and throughout the Americas if data is not able move freely around the world. The TPA bill supports thins kind of digital trade.

The economic impact of free trade goes well beyond one company or one industry.  It affects every sector of every industry in the economy.  According to the Business Roundtable, free trade supports 39.8 million jobs across the nation.

That’s why Cisco is urging the House and the Senate to support trade promotion authority legislation that is moving through Congress.

Combined with existing free trade agreements, new partnerships enabled by this legislation would allow American businesses to sell more products and services to 1.5 billion consumers around the world.

Over the past three decades, the United States has created the most innovative and amazing products anywhere. We lead the way when it comes to the development of information and communications technology.

The next generation of the Internet — the Internet of Everything – will create new opportunities for American companies large and small. 

We will see new devices, products, technologies and services develop that we can scarcely imagine today – changing the clothes we wear, the way we use transportation, and the way that health care is provided.

But how this Internet of Everything economy develops will depend on the decisions that policymakers make today.  Will we put American companies in the position to grow around the world, creating new jobs, new innovation, and new growth?  Or will we hamstring these businesses and put them at a competitive disadvantage?

The choice is clear.  For this new wave of technology to develop, we need our leaders in Washington – Republicans and Democrats, the White House and Congress – to support trade promotion authority and approve free trade agreements.   This is a critical part of ensuring American competiveness over the next generation.

Sanford leads trade policy for Cisco.

Tags Orrin Hatch Paul Ryan Ron Wyden

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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