U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman briefs Agriculture Committee members on trade negotiations
On September 9, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway and members of the Agriculture Committee met with United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman in an Executive Briefing to discuss the status of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade-related issues and their impact on the agricultural sector. Members of the committee focused primarily on market access for agricultural commodities – particularly for rice, dairy, and sugar.
After a record-setting $152.3 billion in U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2014, estimates for fiscal year 2015 are projected to decrease 8 percent to $139.5 billion. With the outlook for exports softening, committee members stressed the importance of expanding opportunities for trade abroad. While successfully concluding TPP represents potential significant gains for agriculture, members also highlighted a few remaining concerns.
“I am grateful for the work of Ambassador Froman and his team,” Chairman Conaway said. “While nearly every industry in America can benefit from expanding exports, agriculture is particularly sensitive to trade negotiations. Agricultural exports support jobs both on and off the farm and have continued to be a bright spot for the U.S. economy. While I applaud USTR for their work, I am concerned about a lack of progress on market access for dairy and rice along with last-minute calls for additional sugar imports that could undermine U.S. sugar policy. I remain hopeful that Ambassador Froman and his team will be able to resolve these issues and bring TPP to a successful conclusion.”