The Indy Chamber supports TPP as part of its economic development advocacy agenda. Through the Global Cities Exchange – a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase – the region has created a Metro Indy Global Trade and Investment Plan aimed at boosting exports and attracting new foreign investment. The global plan is included as a top priority of Accelerate Indy, the Chamber’s new regional economic strategy.
“Roughly 100,000 local jobs rely on exporters and foreign-owned companies,” noted Indy Chamber president Michael Huber. “We’re a top 25 metro for export value and employment; knocking down trade barriers creates more opportunities to grow these numbers. TPP is a federal issue that could have a major positive regional impact.”
Huber added that international trade also supports innovation and income growth.
“More than 70% of our exports are in advanced industries – cutting-edge manufacturing, the life sciences, high-tech goods and services,” Huber explained. “Global businesses tend to be more productive, to invest more in R&D and their workforce…employees at exporting companies typically earn more than their peers, by double-digits. Trade is a strategy for building a higher-value, higher-wage economy.”
The automotive sector is a significant share of the region’s advanced industry base, and the metro area has three times more auto manufacturing jobs than the U.S. as a whole. Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO of Cummins, sees TPP as a growth opportunity for Indiana’s largest automotive manufacturer and its 2,300 domestic suppliers.
“Last year, Cummins’ 25,000 U.S. employees worked together to export more than $3 billion in American-made goods to international markets,” said Linebarger. “By eliminating 18,000 foreign tariffs, TPP will help manufacturers like Cummins reach millions of new potential customers – that’s good for our business, our workforce, and Indiana’s economy.”
Assistant Secretary of Commerce Steve Haro explained that TPP would benefit a variety of Hoosier industries, in manufacturing and beyond.
“Central Indiana exported more than $10 billion in manufactured goods in 2014, and TPP eliminates all import taxes on U.S. manufactured goods in markets across the Asia-Pacific region,” Haro said. “TPP cuts taxes as high as 70% on auto parts, 60% on other machinery, 35% on Indiana-grown soybeans, and much more.”
Technology has been one of Indy’s fastest-growing industries, with the region creating computer systems and data jobs twice as fast as other major metros over the last five years. Haro noted that TPP also eliminated high tariffs on U.S. high-tech exports and included new rules promoting e-commerce and the free flow of digital information across national borders.
The Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership is also the first trade agreement with a chapter dedicated to small- and mid-sized companies, addressing cost and regulatory issues that pose an undue burden on these enterprises. While more than 90% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S., less than 5% of the nation’s small businesses are taking advantage of export opportunities, a challenge that persists in the Indianapolis region.
“Through our work with the Brookings Institution, we’ve identified more than a thousand local employers – including 500 mid-market manufacturers – that could be exporting, but haven’t pursued this opportunity,” Huber said. “Part of our Accelerate Indy strategy is helping these companies go global: TPP makes it even easier for smaller firms to enter some of the world’s fastest-growing markets.”
As part of its Global Indy effort, the Indy Chamber is already offering export assistance grants and educational programs for small and mid-sized companies. By streamlining trade with countries across North and South America and Asia – including Japan and Canada, already two major regional export and investment markets – TPP would accelerate these efforts.
The Global Indy TPP briefing was held on the campus of Butler University; the discussion with Tom Linebarger and Steve Haro was moderated by the Dean of its Lacy School of Business, Dr. Steve Standifird. To learn more about the Indy Chamber’s Accelerate Indy strategy and Global Indy initiative here and here.