I have long believed that when instituted correctly and fairly, trade agreements open up new markets to U.S. goods, create opportunities for American companies and their employees, and lift the standard of living for people in the country with whom we are trading. With 95% of the world’s population living outside our borders, if the United States is going to compete in the 21st century global economy, we cannot shy away from opportunities to guide and expand global trade.

The 114th Congress boasts the most robust trade agenda of recent decades. Under the leadership of PresidentObama the United States is close to securing a new breed of progressive trade dealswith the power to shape the rules of the road in the Pacific and create good paying Wisconsin jobs by sending our products – like fire pumps from Chippewa Fallsand our world-class dairy– to untapped markets while prioritizing human rights; workers’ rights; and a healthy environment at home and abroad. Across the board, the agreement has the potential to create strong, enforceable rules of the road that make our trading partners play by the same standards we do here at home. If we don’t write these rules, China plans to. The US-EU agreement aims to be a great addition to the numerous agreements the United States already has. This is why Democratic mayors and governors; former DNC chairs; as well as every living former Secretary of Treasuryand Commercehave come out in support of giving President Obama the authorityto negotiate these cutting edge agreements.

Free Trade Agreements

The following two agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-EU agreement, are currently being negotiated:

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Currently, United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam are the countries participating in this potentially game-changing agreement. The group is quite diverse, including countries that are less than half the size of the US in terms of population and economy. A potential TPP agreement may present an opportunity for the United States to expand trade and investment with a large and fast-growing market. Non-U.S. TPP partners collectively represent a potential market with a population approximately 50% larger than the U.S. and several TPP economies have been growing rapidly over the past decade: average GDP growth for 2002 to 2012 was 7.0% in Vietnam, 6.4% in Peru, 5.9% in Singapore, and 5.1% in Malaysia.

U.S. trade and foreign direct investment flows with TPP countries have increased significantly. U.S. exports to TPP countries increased by more than 75% between the period of 2002 to 2012, exceeding $159 billion in services in 2011 and $689 billion in goods in 2012. Thirteen U.S. imports from TPP countries increased by more than 50% since 2002, with services imports of nearly $82 billion in 2011 and goods imports of $843 billion in 2012.

While autos and financial products will be an important topic, I will also be carefully watching the provisions that affect our industries in western and central Wisconsin like agriculture and manufacturing, especially those that affect small businesses.

US-EU Agreement

The US-EU agreement, also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, could be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated. The European Union and the United States have the largest bilateral trade relationship and enjoy the most integrated economic relationship in the world, making the agreement one of the most important, but also one of the most difficult to negotiate. The agreement intends to further open EU markets to grow the US exports that already amount to $459 billion and supports an estimated 2.4 million good-paying American jobs, including jobs in western and central Wisconsin.

An agreement with the EU, our largest export market, recognizes the economic relationship the two already share. The agreement is envisioned as one that is ambitious with high-standards for trade and investment that would provide significant benefit in terms of promoting U.S. international competitiveness, jobs, and growth. As described by the Administration, a successfully negotiated agreement would aim to boost economic growth in the United States and Europe and add to the 13 million American and European jobs already supported by transatlantic trade and investment.