The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council have said they support streamlined congressional consideration of trade legislation, commonly known as trade promotion authority. The groups submitted their opinion to the President's Export Council in response to a Federal Register notice requesting private-sector comments.
The groups said that trade promotion authority has been an important element in the negotiation and subsequent congressional approval of all U.S. trade agreements since the 1960s, permitting the president to negotiate trade agreements based on strategic goals and objectives outlined in the legislation with ongoing congressional oversight. Under trade promotion authority, Congress may approve or disapprove resulting trade agreements but may not amend them.
The process has worked well over the years, they said, since negotiators across the table know that any agreement they strike with U.S. negotiators will not be subject to congressional amendments or changes. If re-negotiations were required it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to conclude the final package. However, the U.S. has entered into only one new trade negotiation (the Trans-Pacific Partnership) since the most recent trade promotion authority expired in 2007. Meanwhile, U.S. competitors around the world have concluded hundreds of bilateral and regional trade agreements, putting U.S. exports at a distinct disadvantage.
“This year the U.S. exports of poultry, eggs and related products will have a combined value of almost $6 billion," said the comments to the the President's Export Council. "Exports of these products provide for one out of five jobs in the industry, which directly employs nearly 1.4 million workers." Additionally, for each 1 percent increase in the size of the U.S. poultry and egg industry, the U.S. economy creates at least 1,000 direct full-time jobs and about 5,000 jobs in total. “It is an understatement, therefore, to state that exports are vital to the U.S. poultry and egg business,” said the comments.
“The U.S. can only reassert its traditional leadership role in international trade negotiations by enacting new TPA legislation, and we strongly support such legislation and urge that it be comprehensive to encompass TPP, a possible free-trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, and all other trade agreements that may be negotiated over the life of the bill,” said the comments.