Members of Congress:
In a few short weeks, I will be co-leading a delegation to Japan and Korea to advance trade and business-to-business ties between the U.S. and other Asia nations. Of the more than 600,000 small businesses owned and operated by Asians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, more than 400,000 are based in California. These small business enterprises are part of a growing number of small businesses being established by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and other minority groups throughout the country. And, it is critical to note that these small businesses are creating new jobs not only for other immigrant communities, but for all Americans.
Our visit to Japan will focus, in part, on promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade agreement that will include the United States and 11 other countries. TPP will serve as a framework that will allow U.S.-based small businesses to export manufactured goods, professional services and other products to participating countries. It has been our experience that consumers and businesses abroad want more access to American-made products, and small-business owners and entrepreneurs are eager to play a greater role in exporting to new markets.
It goes without saying that the U.S. is considered the land of innovation, where people of all backgrounds can pursue opportunities to build lives for themselves and their families. Many AAPIs start businesses as a way to support themselves and their families, fueling new jobs and opportunities in communities and neighborhoods where no other businesses will venture. However, if we are to keep businesses in communities where there is a strong need for sustainable jobs, we must have access to markets other than the U.S. Our growth depends on Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world. And nothing will stimulate our economy more than being able to sell more goods and services that are made right here in America.
As the president and chief executive officer of the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and a long-standing member of the greater AAPI community, I believe very strongly in the importance of providing more opportunities for the small-business sector to sell their goods and services to countries such as Japan, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. Currently, a full 98 percent of all exports are from small businesses, yet only one or two percent of the more than 28 million small businesses export (or have the ability to export) now. We strongly want to see more agreements such as TPP enacted to open up new markets for businesses of all sizes to export more American-made products. As these opportunities become available, we also believe this will create a wide array of new jobs, including skilled and unskilled positions. And, we believe trade will encourage participating countries to do more to train and retrain their employees to succeed in an world that seeks greater trade opportunities for growth, innovation, creativity, cultural exchanges, and business development.
On Tuesday, April 28, President Barack Obama and members of Congress will have an opportunity to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during an official state visit. We strongly encourage all members of Congress to support TPP and greater Japanese participation in this trade agreement. Opening new markets in Japan and other countries not only benefits our country, but also opens the door to even larger possibilities both here and abroad.
On behalf of everyone at the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and our partners, thank you for your anticipated support for TPP.
PAT FONG KUSHIDA
President and Chief Executive Officer
California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce