In June 2015, Congress approved bipartisan legislation to grant the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), an essential tool for negotiating trade agreements. TPA helps ensure a rules-based system for two-way trade, and that American workers and businesses—including America’s travel businesses—get the best deal out of new trade agreements. Free trade encourages companies to expand internationally, which can help stimulate important business travel to the U.S. and help our economy. U.S. Travel was proud to support this initiative during the congressional session.
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) allows Congress to set the parameters for the President in conducting trade negotiations. In exchange for laying out the terms it wants to see in agreements, under TPA Congress agrees to conduct an up or down vote on trade agreements within 90 days.
Free trade encourages companies to expand internationally, which can help stimulate business travel to the U.S. During the first five years following implementation of recent free trade agreements, the average annual growth rate of international visitation to the U.S. accelerated compared to the five years prior to implementation: Australia (21% faster), Colombia (139% faster), Singapore (50% faster), and South Korea (67% faster).
Travel experts report that more international visitors participate in U.S. trade shows and conventions—an important segment of America’s robust travel economy—as a result of free trade agreements. Foreign exhibitors and buyers spend on average, more than $36,100 each and $13,600 each, respectively attending U.S. exhibitions. In 2010, Oxford Economics estimated that international visitors constitute up to 5% of total U.S. exhibition meetings.
Every $1 million in international traveler spending in the U.S. directly supported nine American jobs in the travel industry in 2014. That is more than four times the number of farm jobs or manufacturing jobs supported by every $1 million in agricultural or manufacturing exports.