The U.S. Senate on May 22 passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a move celebrated by the U.S. agriculture industry. Now that TPA has passed the Senate by a 62-37 vote, the measure will go on to the House for a vote.
TPA 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. Once trade negotiators finalize a deal, Congress gets to review it and vote without amendments on it.
Here is what 7 U.S. agricultural leaders are saying about TPA:
1. Tom Vilsack, U.S. agriculture secretary : "Over 70 organizations representing America's farmers and ranchers, and past secretaries of agriculture in both parties dating back to the Carter Administration all support Trade Promotion Authority because export sales are vital for U.S. agriculture. Last year, agricultural exports totaled more than $150 billion and for many of our products, foreign markets represent half or more of total sales. Those exports supported approximately 1 million U.S. jobs last year. The economy is strengthened and better paying jobs are created in rural America and communities throughout the country by the additional economic activity that flows from expanded farm and food businesses."
2. Mike Brown, President of National Chicken Council: “NCC applauds the Senate action to pass TPA. We urge prompt passage of this legislation in the House to strengthen the position of U.S. international trade negotiators as they continue to move forward with new agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). At one time, Russia and China were the United States’ two largest poultry export markets, but these two markets have been severely disrupted with trade curtailed from previous levels. It is now more important than ever to expand poultry sales to other world markets. Passage of TPA in the House, followed by the president’s signature, would help ensure foreign access for U.S. chicken, generate more farm income, jobs in rural districts, and improve the U.S. trade balance.”
3. Keith Williams, Communications and marketing vice president, National Turkey Federation: “With more than 10 percent of turkey products exported, TPA is a critical tool in completing important agreements to promote more sales to customers abroad.”
4. Ronald Prestage, National Pork Producers Council president: “U.S. trade negotiators will have the leverage they need to close the TPP negotiations once TPA is approved. And the U.S. pork industry needs TPP to continue growing our exports.”
5. Larry Pope, President and CEO of Smithfield Foods: "TPA allows U.S. trade negotiators to get the best trade deal possible for our food producers. This is especially important as the U.S. negotiates the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The TPP alone would generate more than 10,000 U.S. jobs in the pork industry and 110,000 total U.S. jobs."
6. Chip Bowling, President of the National Corn Growers Association: “This legislation is critical to removing trade barriers, expanding our access to global markets, and ensuring farmers get the best possible trade agreements. America’s farmers and ranchers are counting on the House of Representatives to step up and pass this important legislation as soon as possible.”
7. Bob Stallman, President of American Farm Bureau Federation: “The U.S. leads the world in agricultural exports thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of American farmers and ranchers. Creating new partnerships and expanding access to international markets will drive us forward in the global marketplace. … TPA streamlines negotiations and strengthens our position at the bargaining table. We urge the House now to act swiftly in passing trade promotion authority to protect the future of agricultural trade.”