Local and national economic development leaders say ongoing discussion surrounding the hotly-debated Trans-Pacific Partnership issue is a good opportunity for mid-sized companies to weigh the costs and benefits of doing business internationally. U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Steve Haro says Indiana is a "massive trade state," and calls it a model of how international trade can be a successful economic driver for the entire country. Haro, Indy Chamber President Michael Huber and Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) Chief Executive Officer Tom Linebarger took part in a policy briefing today focusing on the TPP.
Haro says Cummins is a poster child for how doing business internationally can boost a company’s bottom line. The engine maker does business in 190 countries, to the tune of $3 billion in exports per year.
President Barack Obama is a vocal supporter of the 12-nation trade deal, saying it will eliminate more than 18,000 tariffs other countries have levied on American exports. Haro says the deal would help mid-sized companies address the main hurdles to international trade: access and cost. The Indy Chamber also supports TPP as part of its economic development advocacy agenda.
Many opponents of the measure suggest it will only help large corporations and cost American jobs. Haro suggests the TPP has become a "boogeyman" for globalization, mechanization and digitization. He argues, however, that those economic trends will continue, regardless of whether the U.S. ratifies the agreement.
Leaders from the nations approved the deal earlier this year, but it must still be ratified by their individual governments. President Obama has said he hopes for a vote before he leaves office.