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98 The PCB Magazine • May 2017 Count me among those business leaders who thought the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was on the right track last year and would have brought significant benefits to all nations, in- cluding the United States. Before President Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP trade negotiations, I had ar- gued it would have unified the world's most dy- namic economic region—bringing together de- veloped and developing countries that collective- ly represent 825 million consumers and 40% of the world' s economic output. TPP would have eased cross- border trade and simplified inter - national supply chains by elimi- nating tariffs, in- creasing trans- parency, and in- stituting stronger protections for in- tellectual proper- ty, labor, and the environment. Another prac- tical outcome would have been pressure on Chi- na—the world's second larg- est economy— to eventually join. So sweeping was the TPP in its scope, with member nations including Ja- pan, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, as well as the United States, Mexico, and Canada—that China would have had little choice but to at least har- monize its trading practices with TPP countries, if not eventually join as a full-fledged member. Fast-forward to today. With President Trump having kept his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the TPP, the pact is con - sidered all but dead. But beyond that, contin- ued rhetoric from the Trump administration in- dicates a reluctance to embrace multilateral free trade deals and to move toward a more protec- tionist "U.S. first" trade policy. This is a mistake, on a number of fronts. First, in an increasingly interconnected world, free and fair trade is mutually beneficial. With respect to the United States and China, our econ - omies are already inextricably linked. The two countries are each other's second-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $519 bil- lion last year. And this trade is on an upward tra- jectory. In the elec- tronics indus- try, nearly 20% of IPC's mem- ber companies are Chinese, and those firms and many of their for - eign partners de- pend on predict- able and open trade rules to help secure their sup- ply chains. Why would we erect new barriers to trade with Chi- na, or skip the op- portunity to lower existing barriers? Second, by sitting out the negotiations for multilateral trade agreements, the Unit- ed States allows the rest of the world to "set the table," and loses influence in critical negotia- tions that could strengthen its own economy. Earlier this spring, President Trump cited the high international tariffs imposed by some countries on American motorcycle maker Harley Davidson as an example of unfair trade. And yet, Harley Davidson CEO Matt Levatich publicly supported TPP because it would have completely eliminat - China—A Critical Partner for Trade ONE WORLD, ONE INDUSTRY by John Mitchell IPC – ASSOCIATION CONNECTING ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES

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