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NPPC Urges Renewal Of Trade Promotion Authority

by 5m Editor
13 February 2007, at 8:52am

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Pork Producers Council today joined a private-sector coalition, Trade for America, in urging Congress to renew the law giving U.S. presidents authority to negotiate trade agreements.

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expires June 30, allows the president to negotiate trade agreements with other countries and requires Congress to approve those deals without amendments – or to reject them. It gives trading partners confidence that the agreements they negotiate with the United States will not be renegotiated by federal lawmakers.

“The president needs TPA to continue to negotiate trade deals, which have been extremely beneficial to pork producers,” said NPPC President Joy Philippi, a pork producer from Bruning, Neb. “A failure to renew TPA would be a failure to the U.S. economy, particularly to the agriculture industry, which has a trade surplus.”

Trade for America, on which NPPC serves on the steering committee, will be lobbying lawmakers to get TPA extended. In addition, NPPC will work closely with other food and agriculture groups to urge Congress to renew TPA.

Congress has granted every U.S. president since 1974 the authority to negotiate free trade agreements subject simply to an up-or-down vote by Congress within a specified time. Since TPA last was renewed in August 2002, Congress has passed a number of agreements, including ones with Australia, Chile and the Dominican Republic and five Central American countries (DR-CAFTA). Trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Peru now are pending congressional action.

“Trade is of critical importance to pork producers,” NPPC’s Philippi said, “and our industry is looking for ambitious outcomes for U.S. pork in several pending bilateral trade deals and in the multilateral WTO Doha agreement. But that cannot happen without an extension of TPA.”

New and expanded market access through trade agreements has been the most important catalyst for increasing U.S. pork exports. Since the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 1989, exports of U.S. pork products have grown to more than $2.6 billion from $394 million. Pork exports hit a new record in 2006, their 15 consecutive record year.

ThePigSite News Desk

5m Editor