TPA Bill Introduced in Congress
International Trade Agenda Begins to Move with TPA Bill Introduction
SFIA supports action to improve global trade environment
SILVER SPRING, MD – April 16, 2015 – In a long awaited development, congressional leaders today introduced “Trade Promotion Authority” (TPA) legislation, calling for quick passage in order to allow the United States to achieve high quality trade deals that open markets, benefit American workers, and create jobs. U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced identical bills in the Senate and House, respectively.
The bill, formally known as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, would set rules for the President to consult with Congress on international trade policy, and then allow trade agreements to be submitted to Congress for an up-or- down vote. Trade Promotion Authority is seen to be essential for any major trade deal to be finally negotiated with other countries.
“This is a major development for the sporting goods and fitness industry. Passage of TPA is crucial to a vibrant global trade environment which will lower prices and increase access to fast-growing markets,” according to Tom Cove, President and CEO of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Many observers see TPA opening the door to final negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, which has been in discussion for 13 years. The agreement would reduce or eliminate tariffs on products traded between numerous Pacific Rim countries: Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. TPP would be the biggest Free Trade Agreement for the U.S. since NAFTA in 1994. The TPP negotiations are almost completed with many of the outstanding issues resolved.
“We are pleased to see Congress moving forward on a robust trade agenda, and passage of TPA would be a great first step,” commented Bill Sells, SFIA Vice President of Government Relations. “The U.S. needs to take a more active role in global trade as balanced free-trade agreements are crucial to our future economic growth.”
The passage of TPA, and ultimately TPP, would break a log jam on trade matters pending before Congress. Two tariff matters of particular interest to sports and fitness equipment manufacturers could be addressed once Congress moves on TPA. Those tariffs are addressed via the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which provides duty relief on products made in 141 countries with developing economies and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) which provided tariff relief on 1,500 products no longer made domestically.
Click here for the Congressional Press Release on TPA.
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