If Congress fails to pass Trade Promotion Authority there will be no Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. That is the message the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council and United Fresh Produce Association told members during the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing on the importance of trade to U.S. agriculture.
The AFBF said the “TPA is important to ongoing work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. For these negotiations to move forward while maintaining the focus on improving and expanding trade between our negotiating partners, we need to have TPA in place.” The NPPC reminded the committee that trade agreements have benefited the U.S. pork industry. As a result of trade agreements, exports have increased 1,550% in value and 1,268% in volume since 1989 when the United States implemented the free-trade agreement with Canada. The U.S. pork industry now exports more pork to the 18 U.S. free-trade agreement partners than the rest of the world.
Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said, “TPA would pave the way for our trade negotiators to finalize key trade deals that work for agriculture by giving our negotiating partners the confidence to bring their best offers to the table. If we are unsuccessful in our efforts to gain access to markets for American food and fiber products, other countries will fill that demand. That is why it is time to pass TPA.”
Negotiations continue between Sens. Orin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking member of the committee, on legislative language concerning TPA. Congress has given every president TPA authority since 1974. The most recent TPA authority expired in 2007.
Freshmen House members write the president in support of TPA
Twenty-six Republican freshman Congressmen have written President Barack Obama indicating their support of Congressional passage of Trade Promotion Authority. TPA is needed to finalize and approve the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The letter also underscores the benefits of expanded trade and increased exports for the U.S. economy.