Feinstein Statement on Trade Legislation
Jun 22 2015
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on trade legislation on the Senate floor:
“I intend to vote for cloture on the Trade Promotion Authority bill because the facts show that expanded trade with the Asia-Pacific region helps California and the country as a whole.”
- Trade supports more than 4.7 million jobs in California and nearly 40 million nationwide.
- More than 75,000 California businesses export goods out of the state, and 95 percent of those are small- or medium-sized with fewer than 500 employees.
- Since 2009, jobs in California related to merchandise trade have increased by 11 percent.
- Research shows that firms that export pay their employees 15 percent more than those that do not.
Three of California’s major sectors benefit substantially from trade:
- Services: The services sector—both high-skilled professional services as well lower-skilled services such as accommodation, food and administration—have helped lead California’s economy recovery since the 2008 recession. Services exports have been a key contributor to the sector. For instance, in 2013 California exported $114 billion in services, which was a 58 percent growth since 2006. This has translated to job growth as well, as last year 66 percent of all new jobs in California were in the services sector. By reducing barriers to services exports, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is expected to boost this critical sector of the growing economy.
- Merchandise: In 2014, California exported $174.1 billion in total merchandise goods and over the past 10 years, exports from California to existing free trade partners grew by 50 percent. If past trade deals are any indication of what the TPP holds, then the merchandise industry will continue to grow. Today, California’s exports of computer and electronic products face tariffs as high as 35 percent while transportation equipment and machinery face tariffs as high as 70 percent, both of which will be reduced under TPP.
- Agriculture: California agriculture also relies on exports. In 2013, agricultural exports were valued at $21.2 billion, making the state’s agriculture industry the largest by value in the United States. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, under TPP nationwide agriculture exports are expected to increase by 5.4 percent by 2025. As with merchandise exports, agriculture products currently face steep tariffs in the Asia-Pacific region. Dairy products face a tariff of up to 35 percent in Japan while walnuts face a 30 percent tariff in Vietnam. With these tariffs reduced or eliminated, the TPP will only enhance California’s farmers, ranchers and producers.
In addition to supporting TPA, Senator Feinstein also strongly supports Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA provides workers displaced by trade job retraining and other assistance. Senator Feinstein looks forward to TAA becoming law as soon as possible, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee she will continue to push for those funds each year.
Finally, in addition to economic considerations, the proposed TPP is key to U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. TPP will require our trade partners to raise their standards with respect to human rights and workers’ rights. Furthermore, it will require countries like Vietnam and Malaysia to improve their laws and enforcement against human trafficking and wildlife trafficking.
TPP will also help the United States rebalance its global priorities to take into account the increasing role of the Asia-Pacific region. Pursuing free and fair trade with allies in the region is a key part of that re-balance. By creating a free trade zone, the United States will be ensuring that nations play by internationally-recognized rules of the road that the United States will help establish. Rejecting this trade deal would cede influence in the region to those countries that do not share our commitment to worker rights, human rights and environmental stewardship.