Farm Bureau applauds Senate passage of Trade Bill

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Farm Forum

Huron, SD — The U.S. Senate’s passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is a positive move for American agriculture according to the South Dakota Farm Bureau, which is applauding TPA as a vitally important step forward into the world marketplace.

“With ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers living outside of U.S. borders, we live in a world where recognizing the importance of international trade is not optional,” said Scott VanderWal, SDFB President and third-generation family farmer from Volga, S.D. “South Dakota farmers and ranchers will benefit from Trade Promotion Authority because it gives the U.S. a strong seat at the table when agreements are made and markets are opened to our agricultural products.”

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is not a trade agreement itself; rather, it is the method by which Congress gives power to the Administration to negotiate trade agreements, as well as defining Congressional objectives and priorities for the Administration to follow. Nearly every President since FDR has had Trade Promotion Authority. TPA must be granted before TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, may move forward.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the agreement the U.S. is negotiating with 11 other countries – mainly in the Pacific Rim, but also Canada and Mexico. There is no vote scheduled yet on TPP, and there will not be until each of the countries finalizes negotiations and there has been the prescribed public review of the agreement. The TPP, the product of more than 10 years of talks, would set new terms for trade and business investment among these U.S. trading partners which represent roughly one-third of world trade.

“No one can top America’s farmers and ranchers in terms of productivity. Since we’re exceptionally good at the production side, we must continually attend to the consumption side of the equation. We want strong markets here at home as well, but the opportunity to trade internationally is a key component in the success of our farm and ranch families,” VanderWal added.

South Dakota is the nation’s 10th largest exporter of agricultural products. It is the second leading exporter of oilseeds (excluding soybeans) and ranks among the top 10 exporters of corn, wheat, cattle, soybeans and hay. International trade supports 124,000 jobs in South Dakota and enables the state to export $3.7 billion in goods and $1.3 billion in services annually through more than 970 exporters.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) applauded the passage of TPA as well. Bob Stallman, AFBF President and a rice and cattle producer from Texas, stated: “The Senate’s bipartisan passage of Trade Promotion Authority sends a strong signal to foreign governments that we mean business at the bargaining table and are ready to complete new agreements that will break down trade barriers and open new markets from Asia to Europe. The American Farm Bureau applauds the Senate for moving this important trade legislation forward.”