NEC Joins with Top Business Groups in Urging Congress to Pass TPA

Business Leaders Across US Say Trade is Critical to Economic Growth

Media Contact: Emily Heisig, 617-365-2647,

BOSTON (June 10, 2015) – The New England Council –the nation’s oldest regional business association—has joined with a number of other respected business organizations across the country in urging Congress to pass legislation granting Trade Promotion Authority. The Senate passed the TPA legislation last month and now the House is set to vote on it this Friday, June 12. The legislation would authorize the President to negotiate new international trade agreements designed to benefit American business and workers.

In addition to The New England Council, the following organizations are also participating in the coordinated campaign, which is being led by the Partnership for New York City: California Business Roundtable, the Colorado Business Roundtable, Iowa Business Council, the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Oregon Business Council, the Pennsylvania Business Council and the Washington Roundtable. Together, the members of these organizations employ tens of millions Americans.

“In New England, over 24,000 companies export their goods, and over 260,000 jobs in our region are supported by exports. New free trade agreements with key trading partners in Asia and Europe will only increase these numbers and drive continued economic growth and prosperity in New England,” said James T. Brett, President & CEO of The New England Council. “We are encouraged by the Senate’s recent passage of Trade Promotion Authority, and hope that the House will soon follow suit so that exporters of all types and sizes can access new foreign markets.”

The campaign includes letters and calls to members of state Congressional delegations as well as local media outreach. In recent weeks, The New England Council wrote to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in all six New England states urging them to support TPA and citing the tremendous positive impact of trade for the region. The Council also provided members of the New England Congressional delegation and their staffs with a white paper that outlines the positive economic impact of trade in New England, and sets forth the Council’s principles on trade policy.

“New York stands to be a major beneficiary of more open and robust international trade, and business leaders from around the country agree that other states will reap the benefits as well,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City. “The benefits of enhanced trade are too good to pass up – it will provide a lift for companies both large and small, and create new jobs right here at home. The House must get on board with the Senate and pass TPA as soon as possible.”

“For more than 35 years the members of the California Business Roundtable have brought their executive leadership to public policy issues that are critical to growing jobs and strengthening the economy,” said Robert C. Lapsley, President, California Business Roundtable. “International trade, and the TPP specifically, is one of those issues critical to California economic future. The TPP will prevent future exclusion of American goods, services and investment in Asian markets – this is critically important as the U.S. is gradually losing market share.  We urge Congress to support the TPP and eliminate long-standing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.”

“Thousands of Colorado businesses across a large spectrum of the state benefit tremendously from fair, open, and successful international trade opportunities that are leveraged at the federal level. With so much purchasing power outside of our borders, a robust trade policy can help expand and grow the Colorado economy, as well as increase opportunities and access to countries abroad,” states Jeff Wasden, President, Colorado Business Roundtable, “Colorado understands the opportunities in our global economy and we strongly implore the House to move Trade Promotion Authority forward.”

“Iowa is a net-exporting state, with an economy and future that depends on an open and fair marketplace,” said Elliott Smith, Executive Director of the Iowa Business Council. “Last year, Iowa exported a record $15.1 billion in manufactured goods and value-added agricultural products – nearly 83% of which were from small or medium sized businesses.  Iowa farmers exported $3.58 billion in soybeans, $1.99 billion in pork, $1.71 billion in corn, and $1.04 billion in feed grain – serving as the foundation and strength of our agriculture economy.   One in five Iowa jobs depend on trade.  Quite simply, international trade is critically important to Iowa’s businesses, workers, and farmers.  Voting for a level playing field in international trade is a vote for a growing, dynamic Iowa economy and a more robust, competitive United States.”

“Robust international trade is necessary for Minnesota’s economy to remain strong and globally competitive,” said Charlie Weaver, Executive Director of the Minnesota Business Partnership. “Free trade helps boost exports to untapped markets and acts as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth at home. TPA is a win for Minnesota businesses and workers, and we urge the House to pass it.”

“Today there are 525 million middle class consumers in Asia. By 2030, there are expected to be 2.7 billion.  TPA and the TPP will help Oregon and U.S. companies reach these consumers, who are demanding Oregon made products like high quality food and beverages, computer and electronic components, athletic gear, and wood products,” said Duncan Wyse, President of the Oregon Business Council. “We thank the members of the Oregon congressional delegation who have provided leadership on this issue, and we urge Congress to pass TPA and TPP soon so that more Oregon and U.S. products reach the growing global middle class.”

“Exports are so good for Pennsylvania families, workers, and investors you would think everyone would be for it!  Sadly, that’s not the case.  Liberal lawmakers fear trade deals will hurt higher priced organized labor and the global environmental.  Conservative lawmakers fear trade deals are ‘corporate welfare’ for large companies and provide the opportunity for President Obama and the Federal government to seize more power.  Both groups are wrong; dead wrong.  And they’re threatening to kill our economic recovery and expansion,” said Dave Patti, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council.

“TPA is necessary to move forward with progressive trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ensure they work in our favor,” said Steve Mullin, President of the Washington Roundtable. “In Washington state, where trade is the single largest driver of our economy and responsible for 40 percent of jobs, employers sell and source goods and services around the world. We need trade agreements like TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that reduce barriers impeding the success and efficiency of global supply chains.”

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region. The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange. For more information, please visit:



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