Just days after negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman made a stop in Delaware.
Froman joined Delaware’s U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons at New Castle manufacturer White Optics. The company makes products that improve energy efficiency for the commercial lighting industry.
“We’re interested in learning about the TPP and we’re in support of free trade and what is going on in general,” said White Optics president Eric Teather.
Exports from White Optics contribute to Delaware’s total export of $5.3 billion worth of products. About one-fifth of Delaware’s exports or $1.1 billion already are sent to countries that are part of the TPP agreement.
“One of the key parts of it is that it eliminates 18,000 taxes on the exports of product from American small businesses,” said Froman. “The products made here, for example, face a 30 percent tax going into Malaysia, a 24 percent tax going into Vietnam, and those will go to zero under this trade agreement. That’s just an example of the kinds of opportunities that we’re trying to create.”
While Carper and Coons accompanied Froman on his factory tour, both were non-committal on whether they would support the partnership deal. But Sen. Carper seemed to be leaning more towards supporting the deal then Sen. Coons. “I’m very much inclined to support it,” Carper said. He added that his support would come after a detailed reading of the agreement.
Coons also said he needed to read the agreement in full. “As someone who spent eight years as a practicing lawyer, when you hand me what I’m sure is going to be a very long and very complicated agreement, I’m going to read it before I give you any pronouncement,” Coons said.