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Tampa Bay Times: Monday’s letters: Trade deal carries benefits for Florida

Friday, September 02, 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become a highly contested issue in recent months. The TPP is intended to bring economic growth and create new opportunities for employees and businesses. This will contribute to raising living standards, benefiting consumers, reducing poverty and promoting sustainable growth.

The most recent TPP agreement includes import and export agreements with 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Of the 11 countries, six (Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Singapore) are current U.S. Federal Trade Agreement partners.

Florida already has strong trade and investment ties with FTA countries, and we have statistically shown increased investment, positive trade results and economic benefit each year. Trade data shows U.S. trade exports and imports of goods and services with FTA countries provided nearly 942,000 jobs in Florida. It also shows that we exported $12.5 billion worth of goods to FTA countries in 2014 and that there are nearly 1,400 FTA companies who are already invested in Florida’s economy.

The additions to the TPP will be able to eliminate approximately 18,000 taxes as well as other trade barriers on American products across the countries that currently put American products at an unfair disadvantage. This would be the first trade deal with a chapter focused specifically on the needs of small business, with provisions that make it cost-effective and efficient for Florida to get products to market.

We can only benefit from the opportunities created by the TPP, and we encourage Congress and the president to enact legislation that will implement it. With all of the benefits that we expect to see here in Florida, we especially encourage members of the Florida delegation to get behind the TPP and vote for it.

Julio Fuentes, Lake Worth

The writer is president of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the only statewide economic development organization dedicated to serving the needs of the Hispanic business community. The chamber has 38 chapters in Florida and works with more than 80,000 minority-owned businesses.

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