Trade Promotion Authority Passes House

Taylor HillmanCattle

Beef Cattle
The U.S. House of Representatives passed Trade Promotion Authority today with a vote of 218 to 208, as stand-alone legislation. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly supports TPA and applauds the House for taking this necessary step to securing future free trade deals that will boost American exports.

“Trade Promotion Authority gives Congress the ability to set definitive goals for the President in negotiations, and then requires any deal be brought back for final approval,” said Philip Ellis, NCBA President. “TPA does not give the President free rein to make trade deals. Without TPA, it would be virtually impossible to negotiate future agreements with other countries, which would hinder our ability to gain greater access into foreign markets.”

Over 12 million American jobs depend on exports, and with the renewal of TPA, valuable free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership can move forward. In 2014, U.S. beef exports accounted for over $7 billion in total sales and added over $350 in value for every head of cattle sold. That is value that is brought back to all segments of the industry and Ellis, a cow/calf producer from Wyoming, said that is a lot of added value to his bottom line.

“The fact is, over 96 percent of the world’s population lives outside our borders,” said Ellis. “Consumers around the world want more beef in their diet and other countries are aggressively seeking trade agreements to give their products a competitive advantage. TPA is the foundation for us to negotiate increased market access and tariff elimination through free trade agreements.”

Today’s vote represents the second time in a week that the House has voted in favor of TPA legislation. The vote last Friday, as part of a trade package, included Trade Adjustment Assistance. Today’s vote was on TPA legislation alone. Due to its separation from the trade package, TPA legislation must now go back to the full Senate for reconsideration, as early as next week. NCBA urges the Senate to act swiftly in sending this legislation to the President’s desk.

Trade Promotion Authority was enacted in 1974 to build the framework for the Administration to negotiate trade agreements that support jobs, eliminate barriers and stop unfair trade. Once signed by the President, Trade Promotion Authority will be reauthorized for five years.

A roll call of the final vote is available here.