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In Their Own Words: Americans Share How Trade Gives Them A Competitive Edge

August 18, 2016

When 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside of the United States, America cannot afford to sit on the sidelines of trade. Done right and aggressively enforced, strong trade agreements give us the competitive edge we need to win around the world – growing American businesses, creating good-paying jobs here at home, and strengthening the economy of rural and urban America.

As Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) recently said in support of the freedom to trade:

“One of America’s greatest economic freedoms is the freedom to trade – to buy, sell, and compete anywhere in the world with as little government interference as possible. It lies at the heart of free enterprise and I believe Republicans must expand that freedom.”

Over the last few months, Members of the Trade Subcommittee have heard from American farmers, small businesses owners, and digital innovators on why we need to continue to negotiate ambitious and enforceable trade agreements. Here’s what they’re saying about how trade agreements help American industries:

Kevin Paap, President, Minnesota Farm Bureau; owner and operator of a fourth generation farm in Minnesota
“A failure to lead in [the Pacific] region will allow other nations to make trade deals, reduce market opportunities for U.S. agriculture and set the standards for trade throughout the Pacific region.”

Randy Mooney, Chairman, National Milk Producers Federation; owner and operator of a dairy farm in Missouri
If we aren’t in the game actively negotiating on these issues, we are ceding ground to our competitors and those looking to make it tougher for us to do business in their markets.”

Dale Foreman, Chairman, Foreman Fruit Company in Washington State
“With more than 95 percent of the world’s population living outside of the United States, the continued success of our growers, packers, and shippers is dependent on maintaining and expanding access to these international markets.”

John Weber, President, National Pork Producers Council; hog farmer and manager of a grain and livestock operation in Iowa
“The importance of free trade agreements to U.S. pork producers is underscored by one fact: The U.S. pork industry now exports more pork to the 20 countries with which the United States has [free trade agreements] than to the rest of the world combined.”

Kavita Shukla, Founder and CEO, Fenugreen FreshPaper
“We need your help. Ensure that an open, global Internet is available so that our partners, customers and community from around the world can connect with us, and so that we can use technology to operate our business on a global basis. Utilize trade agreements and other platforms to reduce tariffs on the products we make, and to simplify customs procedures. Help entrepreneurs like me understand the resources that the U.S. Government has for startups looking to take their business global.”

Heather McClung Co-Owner, Schooner EXACT Brewing Company
“While the exported percentage of Schooner EXACT’s total production volume is relatively small, [trade] is an important segment to our business by providing another sales channel in an increasingly competitive US marketplace, as well as attaining international recognition that raises our profile amongst US consumers.”

Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
“As information technology has improved over the last decade, it’s become increasingly easy for companies to share data across borders. And not just easy, but necessary … Unfortunately, though, dozens of countries now have put in place barriers and prohibitions that limit the ability to move data across borders.”

Christopher Padilla, Vice President, IBM Corporation
“If the United States wants to lead the technological race in the 21st Century, it must be at the forefront of writing the digital ‘rules of the road.’ Why? Because digital trade holds the potential to create tremendous growth for the United States and the world – as long as our trading partners do not impose barriers that destroy economic opportunities before they are created. Because we are the leaders in this space, American companies have the most to lose from digital protectionism.”

As the United States continues its work on free trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the Trade in Services Agreement, Ways and Means Republicans will keep working to put Americans first and unleash the power of every American industry and its workers.

CLICK HERE to read how trade benefits your state.

CLICK HERE to read 5 ways the freedom to trade helps Americans.