KY/ Southern Indiana District Export Council Joins D.C. Forums Supporting Trans-Pacific Partnership

The KY DEC  joined trade specialists from across the nation last week at sessions focusing on reasons to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
(From left) Christopher Wenk, executive director, international policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Leslie Griffin, senior vice president, international public policy, UPS; Katie Hays, manager of government relations, Caterpillar; Susanne T. Stirling, vice president of international affairs, CalChamber.
(From left) Christopher Wenk, executive director, international policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Leslie Griffin, senior vice president, international public policy, UPS; Katie Hays, manager of government relations, Caterpillar; Susanne T. Stirling, vice president of international affairs, CalChamber.

Richard Grana, Vice Chair of KDEC and Associate Member of National DEC and Dr. Robert Brown, Chair of KDEC and new Chair of National Steering Committee of the National DEC participated in the discussions concerning  grassroots TPP activities at the September 22 Annual Trade Symposium, presented by the US Chamber of Commerce and the National District Export Council (DEC). The event was held at the Vietnam House on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. Vietnam is one of the 12 members of the pending TPP.

The symposium was opened by Christopher Wenk, executive director, international policy for the US Chamber, and Philip Pittsford, the outgoing chair of the National DEC.

Welcoming all 75 symposium participants was Vu Le Thai Hoang, minister counselor and chief political officer, Embassy of the Vietnam to the US The first symposium panel presented arguments for the TPP from the perspective of different sectors: manufacturing, financial services and insurance, and agriculture.

The second symposium panel,  focused on engaging employees, suppliers, customers and the community.

Many attendees were reminded  that Pacific Rim nations aside from those in the Americas are making progress on a separate trade agreement and that the United States will be excluded from the many benefits if the other agreement is finalized before the TPP.

The keynote speaker was Drew Quinn, deputy chief negotiator for the TPP at the Office of the US Trade Representative.

National Export Council

Drew Quinn at trade symposium
Drew Quinn at trade symposium

Dr. Brown and Mr. Grana  also joined colleagues from across the country at related meetings of the National DEC in Washington, D.C. The National DEC is made up of the 60 regional district export councils. The 1,500 DEC members around the country all are appointed by the Secretary of the US Department of Commerce.  The mission of the DECs is to work with the Commerce Department on export promotion and commercial diplomacy.

Welcoming members to the National DEC forum were Antwaun Griffin, deputy assistant secretary for US operations at the Commerce Department; and Judy Rising Reinke, deputy director general of the US Commercial Service, who spoke at the Louisville and Paducah events last year.

Policy issues of concern to the DECs are timely congressional approval of the TPP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and continuation of the Export-Import Bank. Other activities include the promotion of theExport University, a program designed to educate small and medium-sized businesses about potential export endeavors.

There was also a joint event of the DEC members and the Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBERs). Congress created the CIBERs to increase and promote the nation’s capacity for international understanding and business competitiveness. Various universities around the country host the 17 centers.

Trans Pacific Partnership

The large and growing markets of the Asia-Pacific already are key destinations for US and Kentucky manufactured goods, agricultural products, and services suppliers, and the TPP will further deepen this trade and investment. US goods exports to TPP nations totaled $680.1 billion in 2015, representing 45.2% of total US goods exports. In 2015, KY exports in goods with TPP members were $12.5 billion.Transportation Equipment exports $694 Million to New TPP Countries, those that do not have preferential tariffs currently. For these items current tariffs are 25% Maximum, and 99.9% of US Goods exports will be duty-free immediately. Consumer goods exported were $154 Million to the new TPP countries, their tariffs are 189% current maximum in this sector, and 90.9% will be duty free,  similar to Automotive products, $98 Million were exported and the current tariff maximum is 75%; 98.2% will be duty free immediately. KY exports supported 140,352 jobs in 2015, and 2,313 companies  exported in 2014; 73% were small and medium companies. A big new factor is the new markets for Agriculture, reduce tariffs; which will eliminate agricultural export subsidies, and discourage countries from imposing export restrictions, similar benefits for Services, including entertainment, telecommunications, software licensing, the internet industry, retailing and logistics/express delivery. Delaying congressional approval of TPP for just one year would cost the US economy $94 billion.

The Asia-Pacific region is a key driver of global economic growth, representing nearly half of the earth’s population, one-third of global GDP and roughly 50% of international trade. The International Monetary Fund estimates that nearly two-thirds of world economic growth in 2016–2017 will be in Asia.

TPP puts US workers first by establishing the highest labor standards of any trade agreement in history, helping small and medium-sized businesses benefit from trade, promoting anti-corruption and transparency, and protecting US workers from unfair competition. All 12 of the negotiating countries also have agreed to adopt high standards in order to ensure that the benefits and obligations of the agreement are fully shared.

The KY/Southern Indiana District Export Council, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for KY products abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of KY business. New multilateral, sectoral and regional trade agreements ensure that the United States may continue to gain access to world markets, resulting in an improved economy and additional employment of Americans.

The TPP agreement is important as a vehicle for trans-Pacific-wide economic integration. This regional agreement sets a high standard that will enhance the competitiveness of the countries that are part of it and help facilitate trade and promote investment between them, increasing their economic growth and development.