If Florida were a country, its $800 billion economy would make it the 19th largest economy in the world. Our state is poised to play a huge role in the global marketplace. In order to grow that economy, businesses need to be able to compete fairly around the world. Manufacturers need the support of U.S. negotiators to secure strong trade agreements in the world's biggest markets. Trade Promotion Authority is necessary to create the environment for such negotiations.
TPA is the key to increasing markets for Florida manufactured goods. It gives our leaders, both the president and Congress, the ability to negotiate trade deals in a timely manner. Contrary to rhetoric that has come from loud factions in both parties lately, TPA will not lead to manufacturing jobs being shipped overseas. It is a legislative mechanism to ensure that we can negotiate and finalize trade deals to increase our exports and even attract new manufacturers to the United States. That means more — not fewer — manufacturing jobs for Floridians.
Florida businesses exported more than $58 billion in goods last year alone. Along with those billions of dollars in exports, international trade supports over 2 million jobs in Florida.
More than 18,000 manufacturers in our state employ more than 317,000 workers. TPA is an essential legislative tool for helping the United States lead in trade negotiations and secure deals that will increase Florida's exports and bring even more manufacturing jobs to the state.
Trade Promotion Authority had strong bipartisan support in the Senate with Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., voting for passage. Our senators should be commended for their bipartisanship in support of Florida manufacturing. Now the U.S. House needs to follow their lead and support Florida manufacturers by voting for TPA.
Nancy Stephens, executive director, Manufacturers Association of Florida, Tallahassee