The United States and eleven other nations last week signed a trade agreement that’s good for Qualcomm, good for the mobile communications industry, and good for the United States and the countries in which we operate.
Qualcomm supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), because it will spur innovation in the 12 countries that are signing the agreement and the broader Trans-Pacific region. By expanding market access for technology products, strengthening the protection of intellectual property and enhancing regulatory transparency, the TPP will create jobs, foster new market opportunities and help bring advanced mobile technologies and services to more consumers, businesses, and countless others in San Diego and beyond.
Trade agreements involve many parties and hundreds or thousands of policy matters, from tariffs and environmental protections to worker safety and manufacturing benefits, so it often takes people time to get used to them. I can tell you that we have looked carefully at the agreement and believe it will be beneficial for Qualcomm and the communities we call home. According to the United States Trade Representative, TPP will cut import taxes on nearly 18,000 products and benefit consumers in the United States and other TPP economies. That could mean lower costs on everyday items for families—as well as advanced technologies and components, like the MCO semiconductors Qualcomm sells to other companies that are incorporated into smartphones and tablets and support high-paying, trade-dependent jobs.
Meanwhile, for businesses based in San Diego and around the United States, we see TPP enhancing access to the large and growing global markets in Asia and leveling the playing field with overseas competitors by aligning global trade rules with how trade is done in today’s digital economy. This sends an important message to other countries that fairness and collaboration—not discrimination and protectionism—will be the hallmarks of 21st century trade. This is important. By 2020, the Asia Pacific region is projected to account for 56% of global smartphone sales. We need a level playing field to ensure that mobile remains a vibrant element of the U.S. economy and continues to grow beyond the sector’s current 1 million employees generating more than 3% of U.S. gross domestic product. Across the Asia-Pacific region, mobile technology is both a key factor in economic growth and a key sector benefitting from that growth, and if we all play by the same rules, Qualcomm’s innovation edge will position us well for future expansion.
While last week’s signing is an important step, there is a way to go before the agreement is ratified and implemented in each of the TPP nations. For example, it will take a majority vote in both chambers of Congress for the agreement to take force in the United States.
So Qualcomm enthusiastically calls on Congress for swift passage of TPP approval once necessary implementing legislation is introduced. We will do all we can to help congressional supporters of free trade and the Obama administration to move the agreement toward ratification at the earliest opportunity.