A Historic Opportunity

Congress is currently debating trade promotion authority, whose passage is a vital step in approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a landmark free-trade agreement between the United States and eleven other nations. Further down the road we will finish negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free-trade agreement between the United States and Europe. The immense economic benefits of these pacts have been widely discussed – the U.S. economy will heat up, and job growth will accelerate as our trading partners open vast new markets to U.S. businesses and slash tariffs on our exports.

The agreements also have critical geo-strategic implications. Combined, these partnerships will unite two-thirds of the world economy in free-trade alliances. The United States will be the pivotal power in these arrangements, expanding our influence and economic relations with dozens of countries. The rules of global commerce will be written by the United States and our partners. China and other bad actors with shallow commitments to the rule of law will be left out in the cold.

These partnerships will exert a strong influence even on nations that are not included in them. Such nations will be presented with a choice: liberalize their markets, commit to the rule of law, and join the dominant international trading system, or retain their tariffs, exclusions, cyber piracy, and arbitrary governance, thereby relegating themselves to the world’s lower-tier economies.

These pacts offer a way to strengthen our alliances without undertaking new military commitments. Countries throughout Europe and the Pacific will closely connect their economies with ours, to the benefit of both sides. In Asia, the United States will become a more influential trading partner for Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia, among others. At a time when China is working feverishly to expand its influence in the Pacific, the United States has the opportunity to counter China’s bellicosity with a peaceful alternative that will increase our stature throughout the region.

Opportunities like these don’t come along every day. Congress must seize this historic moment by passing trade promotion authority and then guiding TPP and TTIP to passage.

— Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)