In 2002, there was a Battle Royale on trade in Washington.  I had the privilege of working with  Members of Congress and their staffs on both sides of the political aisle talking about the importance of ensuring that the United States remains a leader in international trade negotiations.   We in the tech sector made the case how trade helps boost the competitiveness of U.S. technology companies, and how proliferation of the Internet brings people all over the world closer together.  What was true then is even more the case today.

So I’m pleased that the conversation with Congress  about trade has begun once again, thanks to the introduction of Trade Promotion Authority legislation in both the Senate and the House. Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus, Ranking Member Orrin Hatch and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee David Camp are all to be commended for their leadership in getting bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced.  Now the hard work really begins.

TPA empowers Congress by outlining trade negotiating objectives that the President must pursue in the course of trade negotiations. It also ensures that the Executive Branch actively and fully consults Congress before, during and after the course of a trade negotiation. Once a trade deal is concluded, the President then works with Congress to introduce implementing legislation, so Congress has the final say whether the U.S. is a party to any trade pact.

This is an exciting time in the world of international trade, especially in the tech sector. The United States is actively involved in negotiating the Transpacific Partnership with a dozen trading partners in the Asia-Pacific, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union and the Trade in Services Agreement with nearly 20 countries. All of the negotiations are designed to create new market opportunities and greater certainty for U.S.-based technology companies competing on the international stage.

Today’s action by Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch and Chairman Camp is welcome.  It brings us closer to assuring U.S. leadership in international markets. As part of the Trade Benefits America coalition, we are honored to work with the Congress and the Obama Administration to see that TPA is passed as soon as possible.


Jennifer Sanford

Senior Manager of International Trade and Energy/Environment Policy

Cisco Global Policy and Government Affairs