Today, February 4, is an exciting day for those of us who care about Washington state’s global competitiveness; today is the day that officials from all twelve countries that are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will meet in New Zealand to officially sign the historic trade deal!
This doesn’t mean the TPP will now be ratified and implemented – Congress has to approve it and at least six of the partner countries that make up 85% of the GDP of all countries involved must ratify it for that to happen – but it does give a big push for Congress to seriously consider what would be the most effective and innovative trade deal in history.
At WCIT we’ve been silent on this State of Trade blog for a while now – and that’s primarily because we’ve been so hard at work advocating for trade policies like the TPP and Export-Import Bank that will strengthen Washington state’s international competitiveness. From Spokane to Olympia and Tri-Cities to Yakima, we’ve been out and about spreading the word about how Washington will benefit from the TPP. We’re excited to have a little time to sit down and blog again, and we think the big TPP signing day provides a great opportunity to do it!
Why are we so supportive of the TPP here at WCIT? We’ve put together many resources that help answer that question, such as our factsheet that lays out what’s in the TPP for Washington, our factsheet that dispels myths with facts, and our factsheet on Washington’s trade ties with the TPP region, but here are a few reasons we’re so excited about the TPP:
–Washington state could benefit more than any state. Given our strong trade-based economy and trade ties in the Asia-Pacific region, we are strategically positioned to benefit from this deal. Half of our imports come from TPP countries and a third of our exports already go to TPP countries. If trade barriers were broken down in TPP partner countries, we can continue growing our economic engagement in this region. TPP could generate $3 billion in new investment in Washington state alone, according to an Organization for International Investment study.
–TPP is good for our manufacturers, retailers, service providers, farmers and agricultural producers, and small businesses. There’s something in the TPP for everyone. First of all, it will eliminate 18,000 tariffs on U.S. products, including every single tariff on U.S. manufactured products, meaning many of our exports will immediately be more competitive. In addition, TPP streamlines rules and regulations, simplifying and lowering the cost of trade. It prevents other countries from using discriminatory regulations to prevent sales of U.S. products. Eliminating these non-tariff barriers is especially important for our small businesses. Moreover, the TPP addresses important issues for our 21st century economy like the movement of data across borders. The TPP would prevent countries from requiring companies locate servers in each country they do business, freeing up cross-border data flows.
-TPP makes our workers more competitive while improving labor conditions, human rights standards and the environment. For the first time in any trade agreement, labor and environmental standards are addressed as a core part of the TPP. All countries must meet certain standards – for instance, must comply with International Labor Organization standards – in order to be part of the trade deal. This means millions of workers in places like Vietnam and Malaysia for the first time will have minimum wages, the right to safe working conditions, and ability to unionize. Forced and child labor will be eliminated. Countries must stop illegal logging, fishing, and ocean pollution. These things are not just important for the people that will now have a higher quality of life – they are important for Washington workers, too. If standards are raised, our workers will be able to compete on a more level playing field.
There are many more reasons the TPP would be a great deal for Washington state, but this was just a teaser. I’m sure you’re now hungry to know more, so read up on our wcit.org/tpp page, and take 30 seconds to send an email to your member of Congress urging them to consider the benefits of the TPP here.
Now that the TPP is signed, WCIT will march onward with our TPP message. We hope you’ll join us in our advocacy effort over the next few months! #TPP4u&me #TPPbenefitsWA