Bold step forward for US, global economy

I have consistently supported free trade agreements and have closely followed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other free trade agreements in the past. Over the summer, I was one of 28 House Democrats who voted for trade promotion authority, which gives the president the authority to present the agreement to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote. As the representative to the largest inland port in the country, I have witnessed first-hand how trade has transformed Texas and the entire country. The TPP will be no different.

The TPP, a bold project undertaken several years ago by four countries, could transform the global economy. Since the original four countries of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore first came together, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and the United States have joined in.

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While talks over the deal have at times moved haltingly and have been hung up on issues like auto parts for Japan and dairy for Australia, the TPP will be a bold step forward for not just the U.S. economy but the global economy.

In 2014, goods exports to TPP partners accounted for 3.1 million American jobs — this number has increased by 20 percent since 2009. Once implemented, the TPP will lead to more jobs and an increase in opportunity for the agricultural products and manufactured goods made in my district and across the United States.

The TPP will help American exporters by lowering or eliminating high tariffs on American goods and will also prevent other TPP countries from imposing trade barriers on American products. The TPP will eliminate over 18,000 foreign taxes on made-in-America exports and create a marketplace friendlier to our goods and services.

While the final text of the TPP has not yet been made public, I will review it closely and determine how it can benefit the nation. But as we understand the agreement to have been worked out, it will grant truly unfettered access to some of the world’s fastest-growing markets. The manufacturing sector, among others, will benefit as the TPP eliminates import taxes as high as 59 percent on U.S. machinery exports, and the agriculture industry will be able to continue and strengthen exports to the 12 TPP nations.

The TPP will increase global demand for American products across the board. The TPP will allow American producers to tap into a market of more than 800 million consumers living in Trans-Pacific Partner countries. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers residing outside of the United States and American exports at an all-time high in 2014, this agreement is all the more important for American farmers and businesses of all sizes.

We expect the TPP to come up for a vote in the spring or summer, and at that time, I am optimistic that Congress will vote for this deal that the U.S. needs.

Cuellar has represented Texas’s 28th Congressional District since 2005. He sits on the Appropriations Committee.