The House Ag Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the importance of trade. Exports account for almost one-third of total U.S. farm income – and House Ag Chair Mike Conaway says for cotton, tree nuts, rice and wheat – over half of total production is exported. Beyond the benefits to producers – Conaway says trade also helps support more than 1-million American jobs in related sectors. To obtain access to the 95-percent of world consumers outside of the U.S. – he says it’s imperative to reduce and eliminate international barriers to trade so U.S. farmers and ranchers can compete globally on a level playing field. He says granting Trade Promotion Authority will provide U.S. negotiators with the necessary credibility to conclude the most effective trade agreements possible.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says TPA will give Congress the authority to provide valuable oversight to the trade agreement process while the administration represents U.S. priorities before other countries. Having TPA in place before the next set of agreements reaches the table will ensure America’s best interests are represented – according to Stallman. He says Congress needs to pass TPA now to keep agricultural trade going forward tomorrow.