Pork Groups Urged Congress To Pass TPAWed, 04 Mar 2015 09:50:36 CST
The National Pork Producers Council and 39 state pork associations Wednesday urged Congress to approve legislation renewing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) so that major trade deals can be finalized and implemented to help the U.S. economy. Failure to do so would allow other countries to write the rules for international trade, according to the organizations.
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 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.
In a letter sent to all 535 congressional lawmakers, the pork organizations pointed to the benefits of agricultural exports, which have nearly quadrupled in value since 1989 the year the United States began using bilateral and regional trade agreements to open foreign markets topping a record $152.5 billion in 2014, and of pork exports, which have increased 1,550 percent in value and 1,268 percent in volume over the same period. The United States shipped more than $6.6 billion of pork to foreign destinations in 2014.
To grow pork exports, which support more than 110,000 U.S. jobs, NPPC and the state pork associations have been pressing the Obama administration to conclude a good deal in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade agreement. If approved, it would be the most significant commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers, generating more than 10,000 pork industry jobs.
"But to realize the tremendous potential of TPP," the groups said in their letter, "we need Congress to pass TPA. Once it does, it will allow nations to cut to their bottom line negotiating position in TPP.
"If Congress does not pass TPA, we will not empower our TPP negotiating partners to get to their last and best position. Instead, we will signal to the world that the United States is turning its back on the Asia-Pacific region, the fastest growing economic region in the world. And it will signal that we are willing to allow other nations to write the rules of trade," the organizations concluded.
To read the pork associations' letter, click here.
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