More than 400 employers across 10 states are calling on Congress to support and pass an expansive Pacific Rim trade agreement.
In letters sent to Capitol Hill on Monday, companies and associations in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington urged their congressional delegations to pass the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as soon as possible.
The more than 400 business organizations signing onto one or more of the letters represent companies of all sizes from diverse industries, including manufacturers and local Chambers of Commerce as well as retail groups, innovators, services providers, and farmers and ranchers.
"The Asia-Pacific will continue to be the most vibrant region in the global economy for the foreseeable future," wrote the 180 California groups.
"Yet, we are falling behind, as other countries that have negotiated preferential trade agreements in the region place our manufacturers, innovators, service providers, farmers and ranchers, and workers at a competitive disadvantage," they wrote.
"Approval of the TPP will close the gap, and place U.S. companies, farmers and ranchers, and workers at the center of this dynamic regional economy."
The letters — each of which are signed by more than 100 companies and associations — highlight the benefits of trade for their states and the economic importance of the TPP.
The TPP faces an uphill battle to passage this year with a majority of congressional Democrats opposed to the deal and Republicans concerned about several issues they want fixed in the massive agreement, including pharmaceuticals and data collection from financial firms, before they will consider the agreement on Capitol Hill.
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President Obama is on a trip to Vietnam and Japan — both TPP nations — this week, where he is touting the economic and geopolitical benefits of the sweeping agreement.