Jobs, a broader welcome overseas for American goods and a level playing field abroad for companies like Qualcomm. That’s how President Obama described the goals of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in this week’s State of the Union address as he called on Congress to approve the 12-nation trade agreement.
Qualcomm applauds the president’s commitment to work with Congress to quickly approve the TPP. A majority of our revenue generated outside the United States, so global international trade rules and market access are critically important to our ability to continue to drive the company’s strong innovation pipeline, technology product roadmap and patent portfolio. The TPP agreement will be good for Qualcomm, and good for the communities where we are located across the United States, from California to Pennsylvania, Michigan to Texas.
At Qualcomm we look forward to working closely with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Congressional leaders on passage of TPP and hope for implementation of the legislation at the earliest opportunity.
I had the privilege of escorting Ambassador Froman last Friday around Qualcomm’s booth at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, January 6-9, 2016. In conversation with Qualcomm President Derek Aberle and myself, the ambassador impressed us with his appreciation for the importance of international trade and open, competitive markets for Qualcomm and the broader information and communication technology (ICT) industry. Consider the global supply chains that bring us today’s smartphones, tablets, computers, and other consumer electronics—supply chains that also enable cross-overs and combinations of once disparate and distinct fields of technologies. For example, the marriage of mobile communications and automobiles, or medical devices or construction materials, etc. are creating new opportunities and whole commercial categories, like connected cars, mHealthcare and smart buildings. These and many other innovations were on display at CES.
Ambassador Froman later wrote to say he appreciated the chance to view “impressive new innovations from thousands of businesses of all sizes across the United States” and to champion the TPP.
“Derek led me through an ‘invisible museum’ exhibit that could be viewed with tablets which pointed out the many Qualcomm products that – hidden from plain sight – go into making American cities operate in a smarter, cleaner, more efficient way every day,” Ambassador Froman wrote. “CES was an important place to cover the many economic gains the TPP will make for American technology companies like Qualcomm, whether it’s quickly eliminating tariffs on their Made-in-America exports, fighting against counterfeit products, or keeping the internet free and open and ensuring the free flow of data between borders.”
In speaking with Ambassador Froman, we acknowledged two important trade achievements during 2015 that will have a huge impact on the ICT industry. One is the long-awaited conclusion of negotiations to expand the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Once implemented, the ITA will eliminate customs duties on a broad range of high-tech products, including advanced, multi-component semiconductors called MCOs, which are particularly important to Qualcomm.
A second major achievement, of course, was the conclusion of negotiations to create the TPP. The inclusion of high-standard rules on market access, technical barriers, intellectual property, regulatory transparency, procedural aspects of competition policy, services and investment will establish the TPP as the model trade agreement for the 21st Century digital economy. Once ratified and implemented, the TPP will create new high-standard rules and commercial opportunities for businesses, farmers, ranchers, and intellectual property rights owners in the United States and the other 11 TPP countries. The TPP will help maintain and create the high-skill, high-wage jobs that trade makes possible.
So we encourage Congress to quickly approve TPP, which in turn will encourage the United States trading partners in Asia to open their borders to additional trade.