Global trade has been in the headlines recently and many are concerned about the impact of a trade war. The U.S. and China have both been using threatening rhetoric that has some people worried. Because of these developments, President Trump has recently asked his team to reconsider the administration’s position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
TPP was a hot campaign topic during the 2016 presidential election. President Trump ran against it and true to his word he withdrew the U.S. from the agreement’s ratification process shortly after his inauguration.
I am on record as believing that TPP would be good for both the U.S. and the boating industry so naturally I was disappointed when the U.S. withdrew. However, I am encouraged to know that the president is reconsidering his view of the TPP and has ordered his staff to consider whether his administration should change its position and work to ratify the agreement.
For those not familiar with the TPP or the arguments for it, I will repeat some of what I have written before. TPP is a trade agreement between 12 countries (USA, 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 would create 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. 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 for 40 percent of the global economy that were written with U.S. perspective and input;
- 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.
China is not a party of the TPP so the agreement provides a significant advantage to the U.S. related to Asian trade. This is why the TPP is being reconsidered by the Trump administration; as noted above, it would firmly establish the U.S. as the world’s trade leader.
I am excited about the growing markets around the world that will soon be increasing their appetite for boats built in the U.S. and the TPP will help by eliminating tariffs in these countries on U.S. built boats. This will help our industry and create a lot of good marine industry jobs; TPP will be good for the marine industry and that is why it has been supported by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
TPP was a result of multilateral negotiations so, of course, there are some things in the agreement that could be more favorable. However, I continue to believe that overall it would be good for the U.S. and I am happy that President Trump is willing to reconsider his position.
I hope our industry will join me in asking that the TPP get a fair review and be considered in light of its overall impact on the U.S. economy.