With negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal hanging in the balance, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) threw its support behind renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) on Jan. 26. A TPA will enable the current administration and future ones to negotiate and close trade agreements such as the TPP.
“The U.S. pork industry is the poster child for expanded trade,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “As a result of trade agreements, our exports have increased 1,550% in value and 1,268% in volume since 1989, the year the United States implemented the FTA (free trade agreement) with Canada, and started opening international markets for value-added agriculture products. Pork producers and U.S. agriculture are dependent on export markets, so NPPC is going to fight tooth and nail to get TPA passed.”
The NPPC sent a letter Jan. 26 to every member of Congress, urging passage of legislation to renew the TPA. (Click here to read the letter.)
A 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 negotiators finalize a deal, Congress gets an up or down vote – without amendments – on it. Congress has granted a TPA to every president since 1974, with the most recent law being approved in August 2002 and expiring June 30, 2007.
While the TPA will empower U.S. trade officials to pursue and finalize a number of different trade negotiations, the TPP is paramount for U.S. pork producers. The benefits from the TPP are expected to far exceed the benefits that have resulted from past trade deals and will represent, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, “the most important commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers.”
Negotiations on the TPP, which includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, are drawing to a conclusion, with the latest round of talks beginning Jan. 26.
“Significant progress has been made with respect to Japan’s market access offer on pork thanks to the hard work of U.S. trade officials and the strong support of the U.S. Congress,” Hill says. “While NPPC is reserving judgment on a final TPP agreement, we believe it is imperative that Congress approve TPA as a signal to our trading partners that the U.S. is ready to finalize an agreement that expands U.S. trade and generates U.S. jobs.”