Retailers lobby for trade pacts via new study on jobs impact

Retailers lobby for trade pacts via new study on jobs impact

International trade supports nearly 6.9 million U.S. retail jobs, according to a study commissioned by the National Retail Federation in support of free-trade initiatives.

The NRF said the report bolsters arguments for congressional renewal of trade promotion authority and for negotiation of trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

U.S. trade with the 11 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the European Union members negotiating the TTIP agreement supported 3.8 million retail jobs in 2013, according to the NRF-sponsored report. The U.S. collected nearly $6 billion in tariff duties on trade from those countries, the NRF said.

“Free and open trade is an essential element of the U.S. economy and its continued expansion and prosperity,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “International trade benefits American consumers and families with lower-priced and more-diverse goods, supports millions of American jobs, and creates new investment opportunities for American businesses and retailers, large and small, both here and abroad.”

Legislation was introduced last week to renew trade promotion authority, which would require the administration to set negotiating objectives and priorities and require Congress to hold a straight up-or-down vote once agreements are finalized.

“We applaud congressional action to renew trade promotion authority,” Shay said. “It is critical that Congress quickly consider the bill in order to advance pending trade agreements with our allies and trading partners in Asia and Europe.”

“Tearing down trade barriers and repealing market-distorting tariffs is in everyone’s economic and strategic interests,” Shay said. “Approving trade agreements like the TPP and TTIP will not only benefit American businesses but also American consumers and workers. We hope this report helps Congress understand the positive role that international trade plays in individual states and congressional districts.”

Along with seeking TPA renewal, TPP and TTIP, NRF also supports the long-term extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and retroactive renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences, a program providing preferential duty-free entry for a variety of goods and inputs from designated developing countries.