Some 40 percent of jobs in Washington state are tied to trade.

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LIVING in Washington state, with the Pacific at our fingertips and Canada a short drive away, it is easy for us to see how active our businesses, farmers and manufacturers are in global trade.

With 40 percent of jobs in Washington tied to trade, we rely on access to the 95 percent of consumers outside of our borders to sell American-made products. It is for this reason that a robust trade agenda is crucial for our state. This includes ensuring the successful negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a trade agreement the U.S. is currently negotiating with 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

In order to conclude this negotiation and ensure a high standard and comprehensive agreement, Congress must first pass trade-promotion authority (TPA). TPA is the tool that directs our negotiators to secure the best deal possible based on input from the American people through their elected representatives. I encourage our manufacturers, farmers and businesses across the state to engage in support of TPA because it is the linchpin for a successful trade agenda. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle and I need to hear your success stories and we need engagement now, so that we can move quickly. We will get TPA across the finish line, but we need your help to make both TPA and the TPP a reality.

Concluding a high-standard, comprehensive TPP would mean more jobs and more opportunities for Washingtonians in all industries. This issue is not without debate on Capitol Hill, as some argue that the negotiating process has not been transparent or that trade does not in fact create jobs.

For those who question the transparency, they argue that TPP is being negotiated behind closed doors without input from stakeholders. However, the United States trade representative utilizes advisory committees with individuals representing different viewpoints from local officials to nongovernmental organizations. Additionally, all members of Congress can request to view the negotiating text. Are there always ways to improve? Of course, and that is why TPA is important.

Others argue that the TPP would result in a loss of American jobs. But the reality is that as we have completed high-standard trade agreements, the jobs tied to trade have grown in Washington and across the country. For example, in 2013, the number of jobs tied to trade in Washington was more than 125 percent higher than in 1992 because free-trade agreements created opportunities for our world-class exporters to access new markets.

That is why a high-standard, comprehensive TPP is important to job-creators and families that depend on them in communities throughout Washington. Think what it could mean for apple, pear and cherry growers, for example, if Vietnam stopped placing a 10 percent tariff on their produce, or for our dairy producers to have access to the Canadian market.

Also, think about how the inclusion of strong intellectual-property (IP) protections would benefit Washington’s thriving IP-intensive industries. This is a snapshot of the possible benefits to Washington, but the country as a whole stands to gain from a high-standard TPP. These opportunities create well-paying jobs right here at home. In fact, jobs linked to trade pay an average of 15 to 20 percent higher than other jobs.

Recently, I had the chance to travel to three of the countries in the TPP negotiations — Singapore, Malaysia and Japan — to discuss some of the challenges in the negotiations and how a successful conclusion benefits all of our countries. The trip was further proof that this agreement is not only in our economic interest, but it also reaffirmed our presence in the region and our commitment.

For those who argue we should not expand trade, I encourage them to consider our role in the world if we are not globally engaged. As a member of the president’s Export Council, a co-chair of the Friends of TPP Caucus, I am committed to this engagement through the swift passage of TPA and the conclusion of a high-standard TPP.