Over the years, the Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity has been involved in, and helped lead, virtually every major effort to expand worldwide trading opportunities for U.S. companies and workers, and put a stop to tariffs and other measures that drive confrontation and discourage cooperation among nations.
TAPP was founded in Summer 2009 to marshal widespread national opposition to a Section 421 petition filed by the Steelworkers Union asking President Obama to impose costly new tariffs on entry-level Chinese tires. Our task was to convince the President to either limit the tariff or reject the petition entirely.
Within a few weeks, TAPP fundamentally changed the entire debate on this issue. At the onset, it was all about tires. Few inside or outside the industry understood the implications for America’s economy and relationship with our most important trading partner.
Within 30 days, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal were editorializing with our message points. Media across the nation and around the world were covering the issue with our message points. Business groups and trade associations across the country were writing to the President, as were key state leaders and members of Congress – using our message points.
Thousands of Americans were using TAPP’s online letter to urge the President to resist protectionist forces and reject the petition, with every signature forwarded to the White House.
Forced to choose between his protectionist friends and pressure mounting by the day to say NO to the Section 421 Petition, the President released his statement “with the trash” at approximately 9:30 PM on September 11th – hoping for as little notice as possible.
It didn’t work. By morning, China’s statements of condemnation were being reported here in America and around the world. TAPP’s predictions regarding China’s reaction proved true. More members of Congress, along with business groups that had hung on the fence prior to the decision, weighed in to save face.
By Fall 2009, everyone understood that this issue was and is about much more than tires. Today, issues involving U.S. trade policies are covered and scrutinized by the media and by lawmakers like never before. TAPP continues to expand its leadership role advancing U.S. business interests around the globe though cooperation, not confrontation.