By Bill Fallon
Business leaders discussed international trade policy with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and Marcus Jadotte, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce, at a White House Business Council briefing recently at the Stamford Innovation Center. Some 75,000 Connecticut jobs are said to hinge on cross-border business activities.
The meeting was hosted by Pennsylvania-based Business Forward and by Fairfield County-based Pitney Bowes and Sensify Inc. It focused on how international trade agreements would reduce barriers to international markets faced by many Connecticut companies.
“Free trade agreements create a more open and stable environment for U.S. companies to expand their business to customers in overseas markets,” said Jadotte. “Ninety-eight percent of our exporters are small businesses.”
In particular, the group spoke about the two significant trade agreements that the Obama administration is currently negotiating: the Trans-Pacific Partnership with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with members of the European Union.
“My company produces software that helps track high-value assets,” said Saleem Miyan, CEO of Sensify in Stamford. “There’s real demand for this from a variety of industries around the globe. As a businessman, I’m always trying to do things more efficiently. These trade agreements would help us more efficiently do business in other countries, increase our revenue and create more jobs at home.”
Before the agreements can be finalized, Congress must pass trade promotion authority legislation, which was introduced recently.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than 75,000 jobs in Connecticut are supported by exporting.