by John Neuffer, President and CEO
SIA and a coalition of technology leaders today urged Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, which would help the United States negotiate and finalize key trade agreements that will lower tariffs, boost U.S. exports and create jobs:
“TPA gives the U.S. one voice on trade … [It] strengthens our country’s negotiating position and provides our negotiating partners the confidence they need to give us their best offers – resulting in the strongest possible agreements for American businesses and workers.”
As one of America’s largest exporting industries, the U.S. semiconductor industry strongly supports TPA legislation to facilitate commercially significant trade deals and open markets. 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 U.S.
TPA would help enable our industry to continue reaching customers around the world, and the time to act is now. The United States currently is pursuing several critical trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). SIA has two main priorities within the context of TPP and TTIP negotiations: 1) the inclusion of strong encryption language that presumes no regulations and/or restrictions on the commercial trade of goods containing encryption; and 2) strong protection of trade secrets. TPA would facilitate successful conclusion of these trade agreements, which in turn would strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry and benefit consumers around the world.
History has shown that when TPA has not been in effect, the United States has been at a disadvantage to foreign competitors. In fact, virtually all U.S. free trade agreements were concluded pursuant to TPA. Congress last enacted TPA in 2002, and it expired in 2007. Bipartisan TPA legislation was introduced last year but did not pass, and Congress is expected to consider TPA legislation again early this year.
With 95 percent of consumers outside the United States and more than one in five American jobs supported by trade, it is critical that we promote free trade and U.S. competitiveness. SIA looks forward to working with policymakers in the weeks ahead to enact TPA legislation.
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