Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a critical tool long absent from United States trade negotiations, cleared its final hurdle on June 24 before being sent to President Obama. Passing the Senate with bipartisan support, TPA is a linchpin that will provide U.S. trade negotiators with the strongest possible negotiating position as the U.S. seeks to expand trade with Europe, the Asia-Pacific Rim and developing countries. While Caterpillar played a leadership role in support of TPA, a key difference-maker was the engagement of Caterpillar employees.
"Congressional passage of TPA marks a significant victory for supporters of trade and economic growth," says Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman. "Caterpillar has been a consistent, forceful voice for trade throughout our 90-year history; and we're glad to see a bipartisan Congressional majority reaffirm that the U.S. is serious about increasing trade. We're also especially proud our employees sent more than 27,000 letters to Washington to ensure their position in favor of trade was known during this debate.
"We commend President Obama, Ambassador Froman, Speaker Boehner, Leader McConnell, Senators Hatch and Wyden, and Chairman Ryan for their commitment and persistence throughout this long process. We are optimistic that TPA will lead the way for many new market-opening agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
Caterpillar's employees and suppliers demonstrated their understanding of how essential trade is to Caterpillar's ability to grow and delivered that message to Washington. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and other agreements create opportunities to enhance Caterpillar's exports. During the past five years, Caterpillar has exported nearly $88 billion of products from the United States; during the same period more than half of the company's U.S.-made products have been sold overseas.
TPA, which has been provided to each president since Franklin Roosevelt, has lapsed since 2007. The bill will be sent to President Obama where it will await his signature.