For Florida, the TPP is More Than Just Another Free trade Agreement

By: Alice Ancona

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries which currently represent 40 percent of all global trade.

Free trade has been under attack lately. It seems that everywhere you turn – newspapers, the Presidential campaigns, the streets of some faraway place or the internet – you will find an image of someone holding up an anti-TPP sign.

It must be acknowledged that trade has not benefited everyone and its gains have not been shared by all industry sectors. Some have suffered while others have prospered. Jobs have moved away to never return and some communities have been forever scared by those losses. Not all have enjoyed the advantages that trade brings.

We must be more mindful of this as trade and increased competition will be stressful to some communities that have not yet reaped its rewards. It is up to us, the champions of trade, to also champion measures to mitigate its impacts and offset losses.

Trade, none the less, is part of our economic reality and our daily lives. It is how oranges and grapefruit from Central Florida arrive at a Japanese grocery store, it’s how medical devices made in North Florida end up in operating rooms around the world, it is how we are able to order last minute gifts at a click of a button and how we send our loved ones flowers on Valentines’ Day. Our lives depend on trade and we benefit from it without even thinking about it.

Trade is one of our most important tools for economic growth and it provides a level playing field for our exporters to access 95 percent of the global marketplace. It brings foreign direct investment which provides employment for thousands of Floridians. Trade is a multiplier, catalyzing many industry sectors that directly and indirectly benefit from it.

For Florida, the TPP means securing and having greater integration with our most important consumer and trade partner- Latin America. It is a marriage forged by geography, history and culture. A marriage that has benefited Florida in immeasurable ways. The TPP will only enhance it.

This agreement would not only strengthen this partnership and provide us greater access to markets where we are less competitive, but it will further limit competition from bad actors and reduce their influence in a region that is not only significant to us economically but strategically as well. Its ratification and implementation would serve to crystalize a crucial relationship and open the door to other Latin American partners who will, in turn, improve their standards to gain entry.

With 50 percent of our state’s trade going to Latin America, Florida’s Congressional leadership should be at the forefront of championing trade and greater integration with the region. The Florida Chamber recognizes this special relationship and its importance to securing our future.

Join us in promoting and supporting the TPP during this congressional recess. Let us know if your company would be willing to sign-on to or send a letter and/or if you would be willing to contact your member of Congress. Contact me at  aancona@flchamber.com or at 850-521-1210.