Bipartisan legislation to renew and modernize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) has been introduced is Congress. TPA was last enacted in 2002 and expired in 2007.
The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Supporters in agriculture hope TPA will help open the door to new markets for U.S. goods and services, grow the U.S. economy and support jobs in all 50 states.
“Trade benefits American corn and livestock farmers, workers and consumers. Agricultural exports are already a major driver of the U.S. economy, supporting more than one million American jobs. If we remove trade barriers and expand our access to global markets, American corn and livestock farmers can do even more,” said Chip Bowling, president of National Corn Growers Association. “Trade Promotion Authority is critical to ensuring farmers get the best possible deal in trade agreements.”
The timeline of TPA passage is critical for pending trade agreements.
“The clock is ticking. Major trade agreements are under negotiation in the European Union and Asia Pacific region. The rest of the world is not waiting for us,” Bowling said. “We need Trade Promotion Authority to ensure the United States can negotiate the best possible deal for American farmers, businesses, and consumers. It’s time for Congress to act.”
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson, however, called the introduction of the TPA bill a one way ticket to bigger trade deficits, more lost jobs and more economic devastation to America’s family farmers and ranchers.
“TPA is just the continuation of the same old thing, trade agreements that make huge promises of prosperity and jobs to the American public and deliver nothing but bigger deficits, exported jobs and lost domestic agricultural sales,” said Johnson, whose organization has long opposed TPA. “Any trade deal that the United States signs should ensure that it will reduce our trade deficit, protect American workers and forbid trading partners from dancing around the negotiated rules and manipulating their currencies to gain an unfair advantage over us.”
Johnson noted that the U.S. trade deficit for last year totaled over $500 billion and these agreements will only add to that number, which is a net drag on the U.S. economy by a full 3%.