by John Neuffer, President and CEO
Trade has been a frequent and heated topic of debate in the presidential campaign, including the economic impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Too often lost in the political rhetoric is this simple truth – the TPP would not only strengthen the U.S. economy but also America’s position of leadership in the world. A bipartisan group of eight former secretaries of defense recently sent a letter to Congress urging support for the TPP and emphasizing its significance for America’s global position:
“The TPP will deepen relationships with allies in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthen the U.S. economy, establish high standards that mirror U.S. interests and values, and contribute to a safer world for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren … The United States cannot and should not fall behind on the world stage.”
The question is not whether the U.S. needs to trade with the rest of the world, but rather who will take the lead in writing the rules for global trade in today’s complex, globalized world. The U.S. semiconductor industry believes the United States should play a leadership role in crafting global trade rules, and the TPP is critical to this.
The Phoenicians were the first to establish long-range trade routes starting around 3000 BC, because their customers lay across the Mediterranean. Similarly, more than 80 percent of the U.S. semiconductor industry’s sales are to customers outside the United States, so our industry’s ability to grow, innovate, and create jobs is closely tied to our ability to reach overseas markets.
As the former defense secretaries’ letter points out, there are broader implications surrounding America’s trade policy. Along with the vast commercial benefits of TPP, Congress should consider the significant geopolitical benefits of the agreement and do what’s right for the semiconductor industry, the U.S. economy, and America’s global leadership: approve the TPP.
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