The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) applauded committee action in the House and Senate to advance the consideration of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee also advanced other RILA priorities, including the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and renewing the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.
"Retailers applaud the Committees' action to advance important trade legislation and urge the House and Senate to act quickly to pave the way to reduce trade barriers for American businesses and save money for middle-class American families," said Hun Quach, Vice President for International Trade. "TPA will spur economic growth and bolster America's competitiveness by creating new opportunities for American workers and businesses around the world."
Introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) provides the executive branch with clear negotiating objectives for U.S. trade agreements, requires robust consultations with Congress and the public, and sets forth an updated process for Congress to consider trade agreements if these requirements are met. TPA is critical to the successful implementation of trade priorities, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).The TPA legislation Passed out of both Committees strengthens provisions to raise labor and environmental standards, creates a level playing field for businesses and workers around the world, and ensures that new issues, such as state-owned enterprises and digital trade, are addressed in future trade agreements. TPA also gives our negotiating partners certainty to make the difficult decisions required to reach a final agreement.
As part of the trade agenda, RILA supports a comprehensive, high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with a membership and coverage that provides significant market access opportunities in all sectors. The most important issues for retailers in the TPP are the elimination of duties and creation of workable rules on high-tariff items, such as apparel and footwear. Further, retailers believe that the TPP should eliminate supply chain barriers. If these issues are addressed, the TPP could save American consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, while promoting trade and investment, thus enabling retailers to provide the latest products and technology to American families.
The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee also extended preferential duty provisions of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act. The Committees also advanced customs legislation that reauthorizes trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions. While RILA supports efforts to facilitate trade at the border and ensure compliance with U.S. trade laws, RILA has concerns with several provisions of the Senate's customs legislation, including provisions of the ENFORCE Act and the Leveling the Playing Field Act.
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.