by John Neuffer, President and CEO
Throughout the many months of heated political rhetoric on trade this election cycle, one constant has been the unwavering and full-throated support from America’s most innovative companies for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a landmark agreement that would tear down numerous barriers to trade with Pacific Rim countries. SIA and a coalition of tech leaders today reaffirmed their support for the TPP in a letter to congressional leaders, urging Congress to approve it before the end of the year.
The TPP would benefit the tech sector, the U.S. economy, and consumers the world over, and Congress should act swiftly to get it across the goal line in 2016.
Signatories to the letter include associations representing hundreds of vibrant and innovative companies that employ millions of Americans. These groups stand united behind the importance of swift approval of the TPP to connect the fast-growing economies represented in the agreement. TPP countries account for 40 percent of global GDP, and U.S. tech companies exported $10 billion in goods and services to TPP markets in 2014 alone.
Beyond tariff reductions, the TPP would foster the free flow of data across borders, establish an effective intellectual property framework, remove barriers to digital trade, and protect trade secrets, among many other benefits. The TPP would also strengthen America’s leadership in the world, demonstrating to our trading partners in Asia the United States is open for business and will be a global leader in trade.
SIA has long advocated for policies that promote free trade and open markets. Trade expands consumers’ access to the latest technologies, including semiconductors. It also helps lower the cost of these products to consumers.
For U.S. semiconductor companies, strong trade policy is necessary for doing business in today’s global economy. With more than 80 percent of the U.S. semiconductor industry’s customers residing outside the United States, our ability to grow, innovate, and create U.S. jobs is closely tied to open access to overseas markets. Trade has strengthened semiconductor businesses and enabled our industry to support more than one million jobs in America, account for over half of the world’s chip sales, and become the world’s most innovative sector. Our industry is also America’s third-largest manufactured goods exporter, after auto and planes.
The stakes are too high, the benefits too great, and the opportunity too rare to let the TPP slip through our grasp. Congress should do what’s right for tech, for our country, and for American consumers: approve the TPP this year.
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