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TPP Would Benefit San Diego’s Export Economy, Report Says

Photo caption: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker speaks at the Global Entrepreneursh...

Photo by Department of Commerce

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker speaks at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley, June 23, 2016.

TPP Would Benefit San Diego's Export Economy, Report Says

GUEST:

Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Transcript

Though heavily criticized on the presidential campaign trail, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement would benefit San Diego's export economy by lowering tariffs in other Pacific Rim countries, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report by the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy and the San Diego World Trade Center notes that 97 percent of local exports — worth more than $22 billion — go to countries that have signed on to the TPP. Trade to TPP nations from San Diego has increased by 73 percent over the last 14 years, according to the authors.

RELATED: Report Says Trade Deal Would Boost U.S. Economy, But Opponents Say No

San Diego's export economy, which encompasses a wide variety of manufactured and agricultural goods, is tied up more with TPP signatories than the U.S. as a whole.

Meanwhile, only Canada has less restrictive trade policies than the U.S. among TPP countries, so adopting the agreement would "level the playing field for U.S. firms in foreign markets," the report says.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined local business leaders to brief the media on the report, saying widespread anxiety over the deal was due to the slow economic recovery not being felt uniformly across the country. But the longer the U.S. waits to approve the trade pact, Pritzker said, the more influence it will cede to China.

A coalition of environmental, labor, health, consumer advocacy and rights organization have combined to fight implementation of the 12-nation deal, which has been introduced in Congress but not ratified.

Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, who supports the measure, said that even her district doesn't want to see TPP approved. After a recent telephone town hall, about 65 percent of callers said they didn't know enough about TPP to respond and about 35 percent were opposed.

"I don't think the prospects are that good," Davis said.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is strongly against the agreement, while his opponent, Hillary Clinton, has backed it in the past but criticized it during the primary campaign. Her Democratic Party primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, was also resolutely opposed to it.

President Barack Obama reiterated his support for TPP at a news conference on Tuesday, calling it an opportunity to expand economies and set equitable trade rules. He acknowledged, however, that globalization and technology advances have not benefited everyone.

The TPP, if it takes effect, would open markets, phase out thousands of tariffs and impose new trade rules that address labor rights and environmental standards on the dozen Pacific Rim nations that signed on.

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