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Congress will soon consider the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, a bill that could benefit patients everywhere, and help to improve the economy in the “Catheter Valley” and the U.S. broadly by laying the groundwork for meaningful free-trade agreements with economic partners around the world.

Free-trade agreements typically eliminate tariffs and other barriers that prevent American firms like AngioDynamics from selling products made here on equal footing with foreign countries. Eliminating those barriers gives U.S. businesses a more level playing field when we enter new markets beyond our borders and fuels job growth here in New York.

I know first-hand how important access to global markets is to our economy. In New York, the medical technology sector supports more than 19,000 good paying jobs, with my company, AngioDynamics, providing nearly 1,000 of those jobs in upstate New York.

Today, international markets account for approximately 25 percent of the company’s revenue. However, as the organization continues to grow we must put a greater emphasis on accessing business opportunities outside the U.S. This not only will afford companies like ours opportunities to go after meaningful growth by accessing new markets and expanding where we have an existing presence, it will help create more stable businesses whose diversification shields them against challenges such as market changes and regulatory shifts.

The TPA measure under discussion in Congress would strengthen the administration’s ability to negotiate free trade agreements with foreign countries based on goals and priorities set by Congress.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with our own U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-21st, who is steadfastly working on our behalf. Under TPA, lawmakers would have the opportunity to thoroughly review FTAs and approve or disapprove of an agreement based on the negotiating team’s ability to achieve congressionally established objectives.

The TPA in effect sets guidelines for the negotiating team and lets the other countries at the table know the baseline parameters needed for congressional approval.

Free-trade agreements open new markets to American firms and expand the number of customers who can buy our goods and services. That’s good for American businesses and their employees.

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The TPA proposal under consideration now supports the goals of ensuring that trade agreements afford small businesses equal access to international markets.

That’s particularly important to the medical technology industry as 75 percent of medical technology manufacturers are small companies.

With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers living beyond U.S. borders, the U.S. medical-technology sector in particular benefits from trade. Our industry is a net exporter with more than $42 billion worth of exports annually.

Exports under a FTA empower U.S. firms to grow and create jobs at home. In 2013, U.S. exports supported 11.3 million jobs — 1.6 million more than in 2009. Global trade is responsible for one in five U.S. jobs today. That’s twice as many as 20 years ago.

Congress should pass Trade Promotion Authority. It’s good for American medical technology companies, the patients we serve and the broader U.S. economy.

Joe DeVivo, is president and CEO of AngioDynamics, a medical device manufacturing firm headquartered in Latham with approximately 800 employees in Glens Falls and Queensbury.

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