During the seven years that the Trans-Pacific Partnership was being negotiated, critics repeatedly claimed that the trade agreement wouldn’t be about trade or cutting tariffs but, instead, would primarily advance the special interests of large multinationals. Economist Joseph Stiglitz, for example, warned that the TPP could “benefit the wealthiest sliver of the American and global elite at the expense of everyone else.”
The negotiations are now over, and the full text of the agreement, released on Nov. 5, tells a different story. Notably, the agreement includes groundbreaking provisions that better enable smaller businesses to prosper by exporting to the 12 countries that are in the partnership. The growing markets in these countries account for some 40% of the global economy.
Ninety-eight percent of America’s 300,000 exporters are small or medium-size enterprises (SMEs)—firms with fewer than 500 employees. Together they account for about a third of the $1.6 trillion in annual goods exports. And because only 5% of SMEs currently export, there’s a significant potential for growth.
Small businesses account for almost two-thirds of America’s net new jobs and—according to economists—are essential building blocks for economic mobility. Smaller firms that export are especially prolific creators of good jobs for diverse groups. Census Bureau data show that the average American women-owned exporter, for example, employs five times more workers and pays an average salary almost $17,000 more than women-owned non-exporters. Similarly, minority-owned exporters employ three times more workers and pay nearly $16,000 more.
Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal.