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Semiconductor Industry Applauds Congressional Approval of Trade Promotion Authority

Senate joins House in passing legislation to facilitate economy-boosting free trade agreements; President Obama expected to quickly sign legislation into law

Published Wednesday, June 24, 2015 4:30 pm

WASHINGTON—June 24, 2015—The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, today applauded Congress for approving bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. TPA will strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry and our economy by paving the way for passage of free trade agreements. The House of Representatives passed TPA on June 18, the Senate approved it today, and President Obama is expected to sign it into law in the coming days.

“Congressional approval of Trade Promotion Authority is a huge win for U.S. businesses and consumers and brings the United States back to the table to negotiate economy-boosting free trade agreements,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. “TPA facilitates free trade, economic growth, and the spread of innovation. SIA applauds Congress for approving this much-needed legislation and appreciates the strong and determined leadership of 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.), who introduced TPA and worked to get it across the goal line.” 

TPA empowers U.S. trade negotiators to reach final agreements consistent with negotiating objectives laid out by Congress. Our trade negotiators are in a stronger position to forge good trade deals if their counterparts on the other side of the table understand a deal struck is a deal sealed. TPA requires that when Congress votes on relevant trade agreements, it must be done without amendment.

Free trade is critical to the American economy, fostering the spread of innovation and commerce globally. Trade is especially important to the U.S. semiconductor industry, which relies on a global network of materials and equipment suppliers, R&D providers, and customers. In 2014, U.S. semiconductor company sales totaled $173 billion, representing over half the global market, and 82 percent of those sales were to customers outside the United States. Additionally, the semiconductor industry directly employs nearly 250,000 people in high-skilled, high-wage jobs in America. Since most of the U.S. semiconductor industry’s customers are abroad, free trade is critical to creating and supporting these American jobs.

TPA has been part of nearly every U.S. free trade agreement in existence, but it expired in 2007. The United States is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and a WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) – important trade agreements that would result in billions of dollars in global trade of semiconductor products. Without TPA, these agreements may never see the light of day. 

“Free trade spurs innovation and commerce in today’s global economy,” continued Neuffer. “Today’s vote is great news for the U.S. semiconductor industry, our economy, and America.”

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