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Small Business and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): How the Ambitious, High-Standard Agreement Will Help American Small Businesses

As we continue to celebrate the accomplishments of American small businesses during National Small Business Week, the Obama Administration is working to develop ways of helping make these businesses even more competitive. Increasing access to high-growth foreign markets, addressing non-tariff barriers in these countries and making our regulatory regimes work together more seamlessly are among the best ways USTR can contribute to the Administration’s efforts to help our small businesses compete.

To achieve this goal, we are focusing heavily on the Asia-Pacific region, which includes some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. USTR extensively consulted with small and medium-sized businesses to better understand the issues they face in trying to compete in the Asia Pacific and globally. We also drew ideas from the work done at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on small and medium-sized businesses. These businesses told us that the key barriers that they faced were related to tariffs, different rules of origin in different agreements, complex customs procedures, regulatory and other non-tariff barriers, and the difficulty of accessing the laws, regulations, and other information about foreign markets. We have developed proposals to address each of these issues for the TPP negotiations.

The TPP is an ambitious, 21st-century trade agreement, which currently includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Through these proposals, we hope to help U.S. small businesses, a key source of job creation, integrate more fully and compete more effectively in the global economy.

Radi Al-Rashed, a small-business owner in north Texas, voiced his support for the TPP, stating, “International Chem-Crete Corporation exports to some of these countries. The TPP agreement can create jobs, promote competitiveness and advance exports. It can also increase transparency.” Mr. Al-Rashed is the President and CEO of International Chem-Create Co, and is a member of the North Texas District Export Council.