Living here in the United States, it is easy for us to forget that over 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders. Because of this, American exports continue to serve as one of the largest drivers of economic growth domestically.
My home state of Louisiana reported record-breaking export numbers in 2012, proving that even in today’s challenging economic times, American commodities are still in high demand across the globe. Trade plays an important role in empowering our nation, growing its economy, creating domestic jobs and enhancing American competitiveness in the global chain of commerce.
Trade transcends party lines here in Washington, and it unifies stakeholders across the globe. The United States has the rare benefit of being both an Atlantic and Pacific coast nation. This serves as a competitive advantage for our nation’s exporters, as over 40 percent of international consumers are in the Asia-Pacific region.
Most of the world’s recent economic growth has been and is projected to be in the Asia-Pacific region for years to come. Focusing efforts to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement sends the clear message to our global partners that the U.S. remains firmly committed to addressing 21st century trade issues.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement between the U.S. and the following 11 Asia-Pacific countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The TPP supports economic growth and job creation in America while expanding access for American goods and services in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2012, trade exports supported 9.8 million domestic jobs, up 1.3 million from 2009. In Louisiana, over 200,000 jobs are supported by trade with TPP countries. Trade is a source of strength and an engine of growth for America.
The TPP agreement provides the U.S. with an opportunity for export growth while addressing a range of important tariff and non-tariff barriers that currently impede trade with these same countries. Those involved in the TPP negotiations are sending a bold message to the rest of the world by addressing the need for a robust and substantive agreement while setting modern standards.
Completion of the TPP will enhance trade and usher in 21st century rules affecting many consumers from Kuala Lumpur to Canberra, Santiago to South Louisiana, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Best of all, it will open dialogue and facilitate new trade relationships with global partners across the world. Now that’s something we should all get behind.
Boustany has represented Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District (formerly the 7th Congressional District) since 2005. He sits on the Ways and Means Committee and is co-chairman of the newly formed Trans-Pacific Partnership Caucus.