Semi industry encouraged by House passage on TPA bill

Dec. 7, 2001 – San Jose, CA – The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) commended the House of Representatives on its vote passing H.R. 3005, the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act of 2001.

Granting the president trade negotiating authority through the TPA will allow the US to take a leadership role in further opening foreign markets to competitive US high-tech products, including semiconductors.

George Scalise, SIA president stated, “Passage of TPA will boost economic growth by opening markets for US high-tech products. Increasing the number of countries signed on to the Information Technology Agreement and completion of the Free Trade Area of the Americas will expand markets by further eliminating tariffs on computers, telecom equipment, and semiconductors.”

US chipmakers today hold approximately 50% of the world market — substantially more than any other country or region. US semiconductor makers thus benefit from efforts to eliminate both tariff and non-tariff barriers — such as investment restrictions — from foreign markets. In addition, semiconductors are a key component in virtually all US high tech exports and thus agreements that lower barriers for all other high tech products typically also benefit the semiconductor industry.

Scalise added, “Free trade benefits consumers by allowing companies to compete on the basis of their innovations and efficiencies. This competition is further promoted by the existence of strong and effective antidumping laws that encourage investments by efficient producers.”

H.R. 3005 addresses several key issues where the high-tech industry has specific and pressing trade objectives, such as: tariff elimination on high-tech products; increased intellectual property protections; improved market access and non-discriminatory treatment for services; and promotion of e-commerce.

The TPA provides the administration with the ability to secure an up-or-down vote on trade agreements without amendment once the negotiations have been concluded. In order to ensure congressional passage of trade agreements, the administration must consult with congress on a regular basis during the negotiation of those agreements.

This process has been used in the negotiation of numerous past trade agreements, including the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade agreements under the World Trade Organization, formerly the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which substantially opened foreign markets to US goods.


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