Bipartisan support advances TPA legislation

Bill approval could boost pork exports and generate more than 10,000 jobs

The Senate Finance Committee by a bipartisan vote of 20 to 6 passed the Trade Promotion Authority legislation, S.995. The Senate bill was passed without any amendments that could hinder the progress of free trade agreements in the future. The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote on the issue today.

The National Pork Producers Council and 39 state pork associations urged Congress to approve legislation renewing TPA so that major trade deals can be finalized and implemented to help the U.S. economy. Failure to do so would allow other countries to write the rules for international trade, according to the organizations.

TPA defines U.S. negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the president to follow throughout the negotiation process. Once trade negotiators finalize a deal, Congress gets to review it and vote yes or no – without amendments – on it. Congress has granted TPA to every president since 1974, with the most recent law being approved in August 2002 and expiring June 30, 2007.

To grow pork exports, which support more than 110,000 U.S. jobs, the NPPC and the state pork associations have been pressing the Obama administration to conclude a good deal in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade agreement. If approved, it would be the most significant commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers, generating more than 10,000 pork industry jobs.

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