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Free trade between nations is the lifeblood of economic growth. Industry and agriculturalists benefit from an expanded market for their goods, while consumers enjoy a greater and more diverse supply of goods. For the past 17 years, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) has been the voice of consumers for free trade. We believe that Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is a power the president absolutely must have to open borders and benefit consumers.
Therefore, on behalf of the 280,000 members of CSE, I urge you to support HR 2149 sponsored by Rep. Phil Crane. This legislation would allow the president to submit a finalized trade agreement to both houses of Congress to be decided by majority vote. This authority has been granted to every president for the past 25 years. Although TPA is just a simple change in parliamentary procedure, it would dramatically improve America’s trade policy while providing billions of dollars each year in consumer benefits.
To restrict trade is to insulate consumers from lower prices and better value. Trade barriers also unfairly restrict the flow of capital and deprive the world’s poorest communities even a glimpse of the lifestyle Americans take for granted. Tariffs force U.S. businesses to watch as competitors from other nations export technology originally developed in the United States to new markets in South America and Asia.
One in every six products manufactured in the United States is exported; one in every three acres of farmland produces food to be exported. Trade directly supports 22 million jobs and one-quarter of our economic growth. And the NAFTA and WTO agreements signed in the mid-1990s save the average American family nearly $2,000 each year.
Yet, some industrial interests fear the increased competition that free trade would bring. They look at the domestic market as a protected source of income and oppose any effort to offer more choice to consumers. This protectionism chokes economic growth, rewards inefficiency, and favors special interests at the expense of the consumers across America.
Without TPA, the United States has been forced to watch as the rest of the world streamlines trade barriers and expands markets. Only 2 of the 130 multilateral free-trade agreements in effect today involve the United States. If the United States ignores the world market in favor of protectionist policies at home, many U.S. businesses will be forced to cut back on production as exports decline, while inefficient domestic industries will continue to overcharge consumers by billions of dollars every year.
Trade is the foundation of our way of life. It celebrates diversity of skills and rewards ingenuity. I urge you to support HR 2149 to give the president a seat at the international bargaining table. Every day that goes by without TPA is another day consumers are forced to accept inferior products at above-market prices.
President and CEO