The National Pork Producers Council have 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, 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,” says 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 Americawill 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. Pesident since 1974 the authority to negotiate free-rade agreements subject simply to the Congress' up-or-down vote within a specified time. Since TPA was last renewed, in August 2002, Congress has passed several 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,” Philippi says, “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 the TPA extension.”

 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, the 15 consecutive record year.

 Source: National Pork Producers Council