The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been in the press a fair bit the past several months. It is one of the Obama Administration’s top priorities for 2016.
For those not familiar with TPP, it is a trade agreement between 12 countries (the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Chile and Vietnam) that make up about 40 percent of the world’s economy. TPP creates the world’s largest free-trade area and sets the rules for global trade between these countries.
I have had the opportunity to visit each of these 12 countries (with the exception of Brunei) and have been very impressed. Economic growth in these countries and around the world is exciting. This global economic growth combined with the manufacturing renaissance we are experiencing here in the U.S. will help generate jobs and prosperity for many in our country. More specifically, I am excited about the growing markets around the world that will soon be increasing their appetite for boats built in the U.S. TPP will help this bright future materialize.
TPP attempts to level the playing field for U.S. businesses operating globally. More specifically, TPP will do the following:
- Firmly establish the U.S. as the world’s trade leader
- Implement rules of trade that were written with U.S. perspective and input for 40 percent of the global economy
- Eliminate 18,000 tariffs on American-made made products going into these countries including tariffs on boats
- Make all child labor and forced labor illegal
While TPP is supported by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, many Republicans, some Democrats, and, of course, the Obama Administration, there is also some strong opposition.
Any comprehensive treaty will have plenty of things to pick at and TPP is no different. With TPP, most of the opposition seems to be coming from those concerned about displaced workers and I share their concerns. However, whether TPP passes or not the world economy is changing and technology is changing the types of jobs we have. This has happened throughout our country’s history and will continue to happen regardless of whether or not TPP passes. I believe TPP will create more jobs though, admittedly, some of them will be different. Overall, however, I believe TPP will be good for U.S. workers.
For the past several years I have invested a lot of time serving in Washington, D.C., and have learned a lot. I have been honored to meet with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on multiple occasions. I’ve met with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and been invited to the White House three times, including an Oval Office meeting with President Obama.
While I have been surprised by how much agreement there is on key issues in our Capitol I have been disappointed in our nation’s leader’s ability to get things done. TPP is an opportunity for us all to work together to do what is in the best interest of our country and I encourage the Senate to demonstrate that by approving this treaty. It will be good for our industry.
Bill Yeargin is the president and CEO of Correct Craft.