Support for TPA: Letter to Senators Baucus and Hatch for S.1900

By at 21 January, 2014, 4:51 pm

The Honorable Max Baucus

The Honorable Orrin Hatch

The United States Senate

Washington, D.C.  20510


Dear Senators Baucus and Hatch:

On behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and its 100,000 members nationwide, thank you for introducing the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014” (S.1900). This important legislation would re-establish trade promotion authority (TPA) for the President for four years, with an option to extend it for an additional three years.

Free trade is critical to U.S. economic growth, and for small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Growth in real exports accounted for one-third of real U.S. GDP growth over the last decade, and growth in total trade (exports plus imports) equaled 58 percent of the expansion in GDP.  A vibrant entrepreneurial sector is dependent and fueled by such growth.

More than 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power and 95 percent of consumers are located outside of the United States.  Current trade discussions offer exciting potential for our nation’s innovative small companies, which would benefit greatly from agreements with key countries and regions of the globe.  While 98 percent of U.S. exporters are small to mid-size businesses, there is so much more potential for America’s small firms to engage in greater numbers in the international marketplace.  Opening markets for these entrepreneurs is vital to their engagement.

Expanded trade is vital for the creation of good-paying jobs. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports that every “$1 billion in exports of U.S. goods and services supports more than 5,000 U.S. jobs.”  In 2012, exports of U.S. goods and services supported an estimated 9.8 million American jobs, including 25 percent of all manufacturing jobs and 4 million small business jobs.  These export-supported jobs pay 13 to 18 percent higher than the national average wage.

However, other than three trade deals largely negotiated during the previous presidential administration that were finally signed into law in 2011 – with Colombia, Panama and South Korea – the U.S. unfortunately has not fully advanced negotiations or trade agreements in recent years.

That seems to be changing though, as the Obama administration is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other nations – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam –while beginning to pursue a trade agreement with the 28-nation European Union.

TPA was first codified in 1974, lapsed from 1994 to 2002, and it expired again in mid-2007. It serves as a critical tool when details of trade agreements are being negotiated with our trading partners.  TPA ensures congressional input on trade objectives and consultations, but requires an up-or-down vote by Congress on trade agreements.  It represents a balanced and efficient approach to advancing trade agreements.

Again, thank you for taking leadership roles in the U.S. Senate to expand trade opportunities, which will provide needed improvements in the policy environment for economic growth. This is a vital issue upon which Democrats and Republicans need to come together in order to enhance U.S. competitiveness, including by reducing governmental barriers that limit the potential market for U.S. entrepreneurs.

Thank you for your support of America’s entrepreneurs.



Karen Kerrigan

President and Chief Executive Officer 



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