U.S. Chamber President Calls for Renewal of TPA in Senate Testimony

Tom Donohue testifying before Senate hearing in April 2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 10:00am

Outlines Importance of TPA to Economic Growth, Job Creation

WASHINGTON, D.C.— In testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance today, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue urged lawmakers to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a critical tool to help Americans sell their goods and services to the 95% of the world’s customers living outside U.S. borders.

“We need TPA because economic growth and job creation at home depend on our ability to sell American goods and services abroad,” said Donohue. “Without TPA, the United States will be relegated to the sidelines as other nations negotiate trade agreements without us—putting American workers, farmers, and companies at a competitive disadvantage. To create the jobs, growth, and a more prosperous future for our children, America needs to set the negotiating agenda. Otherwise, our workers and businesses will miss out on opportunities they need to grow, thrive, and ultimately bolster our economy.”

Donohue also urged Congress and the administration to use this legislation to bring several trade negotiations to a successful conclusion and pursue new trade agreements to ensure that international commerce is fair.

“The trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, services, and WTO trade agreements now being negotiated represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to tear down the walls that have shut American goods and services out of foreign markets for so long,” Donohue stated. “And with all our trade agreements—old and new—we need to ensure they are fully enforced. The trade agreements we enter into are not worth the paper they are written on if they are not fully enforced.”

Addressing critics who suggest this is a presidential power grab, Donohue said, “TPA strengthens the voice of Congress on trade. Without TPA, the administration can pursue its own priorities at the negotiating table and consult with Congress only if and when it chooses. TPA lets Congress set negotiating goals and sets forth detailed requirements for constant consultation during negotiations.”

Ahead of Donohue’s testimony, nearly 300 state and local chambers of commerce, manufacturing organizations, and farm bureaus representing workers, farmers, and companies of every size, sector and state sent a letter calling on Congress to renew TPA.

“Our country needs bipartisan cooperation on measures like TPA to support economic growth and American jobs. The Chamber looks forward to working with Congress and the administration to renew TPA and show a commitment to strengthening our economy,” Donohue concluded.

Donohue’s complete testimony is available here.

The Chamber analyzed the benefits of trade agreements in a recent report entitled The Open Door of Trade, which Donohue entered into the hearing record. Additionally, the Chamber recently relaunched its website TradeSupportsJobs.com, which offers detailed information on U.S. exports and the jobs they support in all 50 states and 435 Congressional Districts. International trade and investment are key components of the Chamber’s 2015 American Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity Agenda, an ambitious plan to help revitalize the American economy, create jobs, spur growth, and lift incomes.

View more photos from the hearing here.

Video of the hearing can be seen on C-SPAN.