Washington, D.C.— Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) today joined his colleagues in passing Trade Promotion Authority, legislation to make international trade negotiations transparent and ensure the American people—through Congressional representation—have the final say on any trade deal.  

“It is no secret, President Obama and I do not agree on much,” said Rice.  “In fact, since I have been in Congress I have repeatedly looked for ways to hold the President accountable.  I certainly would not support legislation that affords him more power.”

“The trade regulation bill we passed today asserts Congressional priorities into trade negotiations and grants Congress the right to take away the President’s trade authority at any time if negotiations become concerning.  For the first time, TPA requires the President to make any trade agreement public for 60 days before it can be submitted to Congress for a vote,” continued Rice.

“There have been some concerns that the bill allows the President to alter our immigration laws or that Congress is adjudicating its power,” said Rice.  “Both are simply untrue.  This bill explicitly states that trade agreements cannot change immigration laws or obligate the U.S. to grant or expand access to visas.  Without TPA, the President can continue to negotiate trade deals behind closed doors without any Congressional oversight. ”

“South Carolina is experiencing a resurgence in manufacturing,” Rice continued. “Our manufacturers need access to the 96 percent of the world’s consumers that live outside of the United States.  Without trade agreements, our manufacturers face substantial barriers selling to consumers in other countries.”

“More than half a million South Carolina jobs are tied to trade.  I surveyed several of our largest district employers to get their views on TPA.  Every employer we spoke to supported trade promotional authority.  Some of their opinions are listed below, ” concluded Rice. 

 “On behalf of the International Paper employees in your district, many of whom have written to you personally, I urge your support for a trade agenda that will advance the global competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Passing TPA legislation is a priority issue for our company.” 

"As our Timmonsville-based facility is the sole global production source for Honda all-terrain (ATV) and side-by-side (SxS) vehicles, Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. understands the benefits of rules-based trade and open investment for increasing market-opening opportunities for our U.S.-origin products,” said Brian Newman, President of Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc.  “Therefore, we call upon Congress to pass TPA-2015 in order to strengthen the trade deals that the U.S. negotiates to better benefit American workers, American communities, and companies that manufacture in, and export from, the United States."

 “TPA is critical to the long-term success of South Carolina’s small, medium, and large globally engaged businesses and farmers in addition to their workers and families. We encourage you to support it,” said Georgia-Pacific in a joint letter to the South Carolina congressional delegation. Georgia-Pacific operates a Dixie Cup plant in Darlington County.

Perdue Farms in Dillon County is a member of the National Chicken Council and annually exports millions of pounds of chicken parts.  “It is now more important than ever to expand poultry sales to other world markets,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. “Passage of TPA would help ensure foreign access for U.S. chicken, generate more farm income, jobs in rural districts, and improve the U.S. trade balance.”

“In general, I am in support of Fast Track legislation for the executive branch,” said Timothy Tilley, CEO of Envirosep.  “However, I believe any re-authorization should include Congress's trade policy priorities and objectives, ensure the executive branch adheres to Congressional policies and objectives, and ensure fair trade practices.  Any good trade deal is a "win - win" for both sides.  Generally, I believe the key benefactors of free trade deals are large corporations, whereas, I would like to see policies that help promote small firms like mine.” 

“Farmers here in South Carolina help feed the world through our agriculture exports,” said the SC Farm Bureau President David Winkles.  “In 2013, agribusiness was 30 percent of the Port of Charleston’s total container volume.  TPA will make South Carolina and America more competitive on the global market by expanding trade and investment opportunities.”

“The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce supports passage of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA),” said Brad Dean, President & CEO, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Our businesses generally see TPA as a critical step in renewing America’s leadership on trade and securing new trade agreements that create more opportunities for the middle-class.”

 “The business community in South Carolina sees TPA as a critical step in renewing America’s leadership on trade and securing new trade agreements that create more opportunities for the middle-class,” said the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.  “Passage of this bill is key to increasing this country’s competitiveness and will empower businesses to sell more “Mad the in the USA” products overseas.”

Other South Carolina Employers Calling on Congress to Pass TPA: ABB Inc.; ACS, Inc.; BASF Corporation; Beneteau; Canfor/ New South; Caterpillar; Cummins Inc.; Daimler Trucks North America; Domtar; DuPont; Eaton; Ethox Chemicals; Gap Inc.; General Electric; Honeywell; Illinois Tool Works Inc.; International Paper; INA USA; ITRON; Kraft Foods Group, Inc.; MAR-MAC; MeadWestvaco; Medtronic; Nation Ford Chemical; Nestlé; Resolute Forest Products; Schneider Electric; Siemens Corporation; Solvay; The Coca-Cola Company; The Michaels Stores, Inc.; The Procter and Gamble Company; United Technologies; UPS; W.S. Badcock Corp; Xerox Corporation.