The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to approve H.R. 1314, a bill to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and extend Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) legislation, scheduled for vote today. TPA will spur economic growth here in the United States by opening new markets and TAA will bolster America's competitiveness by training workers for jobs of the future.
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. H.R. 1314 includes TPA-2015, in addition to an extension of TAA, a critical worker retraining program.
"Retailers urge the House to approve TPA and TAA legislation, which will pave the way to reduce trade barriers for American businesses and save middle-class American families money while also helping American workers to remain competitive," said Hun Quach, Vice President for International Trade. "TPA will ensure the Administration brings home trade agreements that create new opportunities for American businesses and bolsters U.S. competitiveness around the world."
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 introduced today 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 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.
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.