by Jim Nintzel
Rep. McSally recognizes that the global economy is changing, and for Arizona businesses and workers to continue to be competitive, they must keep pace. Over 95% of the world’s consumers now live beyond our borders. Expanding access to these consumers for local businesses means more jobs for Southern Arizonans. A great example is PACE Technologies in Tucson, which Rep. McSally recently visited, who were able to grow from 4 to 15 employees during the economic downturn by focusing on boosting their exports.
Last year, Arizona businesses shipped over $11 billion in goods to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries. Lowering barriers to markets in these countries can build upon this trade, providing more opportunity for workers here. While Rep. McSally will consider any potential TPP deal once it is reached, she supports measures to expand trade such as passing Trade Promotion Authority legislation.
Like a huge container ship pushing its way into port, the trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership is about to drop anchor in Washington. The document is weighty and secret, stretching to perhaps 30 chapters, and is still being negotiated after nearly 10 years of talks. It would set new terms for trade and business investment among the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations — a far-flung group with an annual gross domestic product of nearly $28 trillion that represents roughly 40 percent of global G.D.P. and one-third of world trade.
Supporters say it would be a boon for all the nations involved, that it would “unlock opportunities” and “address vital 21st-century issues within the global economy,” and that it is written in a way to encourage more countries, possibly even China, to sign on. Passage in Congress is one of President Obama’s final goals in office, but he faces stiff opposition from nearly all of his fellow Democrats.
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Opponents in the United States see the pact as mostly a giveaway to business, encouraging further export of manufacturing jobs to low-wage nations while limiting competition and encouraging higher prices for pharmaceuticals and other high-value products by spreading American standards for patent protections to other countries. A provision allowing multinational corporations to challenge regulations and court rulings before special tribunals is drawing intense opposition.