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SIIA Calls for Prompt Trade Promotion

Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) President Ken Wasch Thursday called for quick consideration of a bi-partisan approach to the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

Established in 1974, the U.S. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is the trade negotiating authority the Congress has granted to each of the previous five presidents. With it, the Executive branch is required to consult regularly with the Congress, and solicit advice from advisory committees and the public, as trade agreements are being negotiated. In return, the Congress does not amend legislation implementing trade agreements, voting up or down on these agreements. The crux of the deal is that U.S. trade negotiators will strike agreements that have the support of the Congress and the American people.

"As President of the principal trade association of the software code and information content industry, representing many small, medium and large software, e-business and information services companies operating globally, we see the direct effects that a lack of Trade Promotion Authority has on the ability of our companies to compete," Wasch said in a public statement.

Wasch, whose group serves as the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry, went on to discuss how the SIIA's 800 member companies depend on global trade to succeed.

"Without TPA, the ability of our trade negotiators to promote an effective eCommerce trade agenda and fight piracy is hampered," Wasch continued. "As our latest report demonstrates, one out of every three downloads of software and one out of every 4 downloads of information content are pirated over the Internet. Through effective trade rules and the authority found in TPA, our trade negotiators can work on our behalf in this fight.

"I urge the Senate to work diligently to pass a bipartisan approach to TPA quickly."

Wasch is one of many figureheads calling for TPA passage. Grant Aldonas, Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade, in testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs that passage of the proposed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is necessary to propel economic opportunity and create jobs for Americans.

Moreover, earlier this month, President George W. Bush called for TPA passage.