NRF: TPP Will Improve Trade, Supplier Management for Retailers

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will have a positive impact on retailers and how they work with overseas suppliers, according to a new report from the National Retail Federation (NRF). Along with lowering costs for global supply chains, the TPP gives retailers more oversight to ensure suppliers are following environmental and labor protection standards, the NRF said.

Greater Oversight

Titled, “Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement Holds Potential for Retailers and American Families,” the report said if the TPP were passed, it would be easier for retailers to ensure their suppliers are adhering to labor and environmental best practices and meet the company’s codes of conduct.

“TPP requires parties to ban the use of child and forced labor, establish a minimum wage and maximum hours of work, ban workplace discrimination, give workers the right to form a union and bargain collectively, and require workplace safety,” the NRF report stated.

The NRF also believes the TPP will be specifically beneficial for food companies that need to ensure their suppliers meet U.S. food safety laws and regulations.

Price Reductions

The report also argues that the “red tape” ingrained into current trade processes can delay shipments and hike up costs for retailers. The TPP, if implemented, mandates suppliers and all trading partners to report custom laws, regulations and procedures publicly, reducing the time it takes for customs authorities to verify goods and move them through ports, according to the NRF.

“TPP promotes paperless trading between businesses and the government, including electronic customs forms, and provides for electronic authentication and signatures for commercial transactions,” the report stated. “Moving to electronic processing will reduce the time it takes to fill out and process forms, making it easier, and less expensive, for both governments and shippers.”

Additionally, over time, the high tariffs retailers currently pay for buy and import goods from foreign countries, will decline, the report said. For retailers, this means lower costs to purchase apparel, footwear, food products and other items from their suppliers across the globe.

Consumers, too, will benefit from the TPP, the report stated. The higher tariffs and current costs of trading mean higher prices for the end product. By lowering the cost of buying and importing goods with countries involved in the TPP, the NRF said consumer product prices would also decrease.

“...[C]urrent trade with TPP parties contains a number of hurdles, all of which add to the costs of doing business with suppliers in these countries,” the report said. “Those costs get embedded into the prices of goods consumers buy in U.S. stores. Where TPP eliminates those hurdles, the costs disappear, enabling retailers to lower product prices.”

The 12 countries involved in the TPP agreement signed on to it in February, but here in the U.S, it still needs Congressional approval. The 12 member nations are Australia, Canada, Chile, Brunei, Japan Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam. The NRF report calls on Congress to pass the TPP for the benefit of retailers and consumers alike.

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