The National Pork Producers Council supports quick approval of Trade Promotion Authority legislation and opposes “controversial” amendments to the bill that could prolong debate and potentially prevent passage. The organization is urging the Senate to pass a clean TPA bill as soon as possible.
TPA legislation defines objectives and priorities for trade agreements the United States negotiates and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the president to follow throughout the negotiation process. Under TPA, 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.
“The U.S. pork industry is dependent on exports, which are facilitated through free trade agreements,” said NPPC President Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “And those agreements are made possible by TPA. The Senate needs to pass that bill now, but adding controversial provisions will make it harder to do that.”
The immediate need for TPA is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade agreement among the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries that is close to being finalized. An agreement that eliminates all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade would increase U.S. pork exports to the TPP nations by 50% and help create 10,000 U.S. agricultural jobs, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.
Yesterday, NPPC joined 24 other food and agricultural organizations in asking the Senate to reject an amendment to the TPA legislation that would require enforceable currency provisions in trade agreements.