No Small Business Left Behind: Support TPP!

TPP will help small businesses survive and thrive in the exponentially growing global internet economy. Congress urgently needs to hear from small business owners.

Small businesses need access to exports to grow in the 21st century. 95% of the world's consumers are overseas. American manufacturing is already reviving due to rising demand for high quality, small batch, and artisan goods (e.g. Tesla cars).  The middle class in Asia is already 300 million and is expected to reach 3 billion by 2030. They will want access to these U.S.-made goods. 

President Obama is working hard on something called TPP,  or Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multi-lateral trade agreement with 11 Pacific Rim countries, that would lower tariffs, simplify regulations, and safeguard universal human values like environmental stewardship.

Tariffs for U.S. exporters are too high and there are many barriers, from high shipping costs to lack of data on how to enter foreign markets. These barriers are rapidly falling away, with TPP as the cornerstone.  Export help is available online, and this transparency will only grow.  The small business exports are set to explode as the entire world population of 7 Billion gets online by 2020, just 5 years away.

But right now well-organized interest groups are lobbying against TPP. They well-organized. Small businesses are not. If we let opponents have their way, small businesses and the American people will lose out, big time.

Opponents are focusing on specific, concrete, issues such as internet rights and access to medicine.  TPP, like any multi-lateral trade agreement, is complex. Imagine reaching consensus with 11 people, each with different agendas, cultures, and constituencies. It's daunting. It involves compromise. It will never be perfect.

The Obama Administration is taking critic's views seriously.  In their criticisms, cynicism, and fear, opponents are threatening to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  U.S. and small businesses, in particular, will be at a severe disadvantage in the global economy if TPP and TPA are not approved by Congress.  Our trading partners are not slowing down to wait for us. If we don't act now to secure our place, we will be left behind.

The Obama Administration is taking an ethical balanced approach and keeping small business needs front and center. They are doing their best, and they need our support.  The American people need this agreement, and they need small business owners to speak out.

The U.S. is already at a huge disadvantage in global competitiveness because of our antiquated education system. You have only to read Dr. Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills our Children Need---and What We Can Do About it -- soon made into a feature-length documentary -- to understand the crisis in U.S. education.

Small businesses will be the drivers of the U.S. global internet-based economy. They are innovative. They are creative. They create good jobs -- jobs where you are treated well, known personally, and feel like an owner.  The next Steve Jobs is a small business owner.

Small business owners: as a small business owner myself, I know you're buried. I know you are the janitor, customer service rep, sales person, legal, HR, and more at your company. You feel like you don't have time to engage in a conversation about trade.



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