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Ohio ag groups pushing for TPA

Ohio agricultural and commodity organizations recently urged Congressman Jim Jordan to support the reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for President Obama. Jordan has publicly shared that he won’t support the bill. With the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations taking placing, it is vitally important to agriculture for the President to have TPA.

The Ohio Agribusiness Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, and Ohio Soybean Association sent the following letter to Congressman Jordan.

Trade is vital to the U.S. Economy, and especially important to Ohio’s number one industry: agriculture. Currently, Congress is debating important legislation that affects all Ohioans and our state’s farmers, and Ohio Agriculture is hopeful that Congressman Jim Jordan will be supportive of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

TPA provides guidelines for politicians as they pursue trade agreements that support U.S. jobs, eliminate barriers in foreign markets and establish rules to stop unfair trade.

The success of the food and agriculture sectors, both in Ohio and nationally, are heavily dependent on continued growth in exports; therefore, Ohio farmers are extremely interested in the passage of TPA. Productivity in agriculture far outpaces the domestic market’s ability to consume it, and the U.S. needs to continue to push for greater access to foreign markets; this is only possible through trade agreements and TPA.

In 2014, Ohio sent $52.1 billion of goods to foreign destinations, as the result of more than 263,000 jobs supported by exports. Ohio is the 9th largest exporting state in the nation, sending goods to 216 countries and territories in 2014.

Farm and food exports have a positive multiplier effect throughout the U.S. economy and Ohio’s. Every $1 in U.S. farm exports stimulates an additional $1.22 in business activity, according to USDA. Exports of $150.5 billion in 2014 therefore generated another $183.61 billion in economic activity in the U.S. bringing the total economic benefit to the economy to $334.11 billion.

These exports were made possible through trade agreements, made possible themselves by the enactment of Trade Promotion Authority. TPA gave U.S. negotiators the ability to extract the best deals possible from other countries. Without it, no country would be willing to make the tough concessions– the ones that would most benefit us — if they fear that Congress will subsequently demand more. The success of trade agreements relies heavily on TPA.

Rejecting TPA would not be free of serious consequences. Nations around the world are negotiating bilateral trade deals. If competitors gain free access to our biggest markets while we continue to face substantial import barriers, our markets will inevitably shrink. Standing still on trade puts the U.S. at risk of falling behind in the global marketplace. In short, trade agreements, such as those being negotiated with eleven other countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and with the European Union under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), cannot achieve U.S. goals without TPA.

In the TPP talks, the Administration is working hard to complete a high-standard, 21st century deal that will eliminate barriers to our exports and raise standards within the TPP nations. Should Congress not pass TPA, that would send a clear and unfortunate message to our TPP partners and to the world, that we are turning our back on the fastest growing economic region in the world. The economic cost to the United States and to Ohio from a failed TPP would be more than lost opportunities; it could result in a real loss of exports, market shares and jobs.

TPP is the most important regional trade negotiation ever undertaken. In order for TPP to become a reality, Congress needs to renew the TPA legislation. We strongly urge Congressman Jim Jordan to support Ohio’s economy and jobs by supporting TPA.

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