From the National Pork Producers Council:
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2015 – Calling it imperative for finalizing free trade agreements that boost U.S. exports and create U.S. jobs, the National Pork Producers Council welcomed today’s introduction of bipartisan legislation granting the president trade promotion authority (TPA) and urged its quick approval by Congress.
Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Finance Committee, introduced the TPA legislation, which 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. [A House bill is expected to be introduced soon.] 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.
“TPA is imperative for getting U.S. trading partners to come to the negotiating table with their best and final offers,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C.
The main reason TPA is needed now, Prestage said, is for concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations among the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries. That deal would be the most significant commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers, generating more than 10,000 pork industry jobs.
“U.S. trade negotiators will have the leverage they need to close the TPP negotiations when Congress passes TPA,” he said. “And the U.S. pork industry needs TPP to continue growing our exports.”
Since 1989 – the year the United States began using bilateral and regional trade agreements to open foreign markets – U.S. pork exports have increased 1,550 percent in value and 1,268 percent in volume. The United States shipped more than $6.6 billion of pork to foreign destinations in 2014.
Failure to pass TPA, noted Prestage, would send a signal to the world that the United States is turning its back on the Asia-Pacific region – the fastest growing area in the world – and allowing other countries to write the rules for international trade.
“The U.S. pork industry, U.S. agriculture, indeed the entire U.S. economy needs TPA, and we need it soon,” Prestage said.