Kyle Cline-IFBIndiana Farm Bureau is joining many farm organizations in asking Congress to approve trade promotion authority or TPA. Farm Bureau says expanding international trade is vital to the success of Indiana’s farmers and the business community that supports them, and that expansion hinges on trade promotion authority.

Kyle Cline, INFB’s national policy advisor, says TPA is the foundation to completing historic trade agreements already being negotiated.

“Basically it comes down to without trade promotion authority the completion of those future trade agreements, all future agreements but in particular the Trans Pacific Partnership in which we are close to finalizing details with Japan and the other negotiating countries, that will be in jeopardy. As a result of that, farm incomes will be in jeopardy as well if we’re not able to close the deal.”

He explains that TPA is a tool that keeps Indiana and the U.S. from ceding  potential markets and economic leadership to competitors.

“TPA is really the administrative tool, the framework, that outlines the specific procedures and roles and responsibilities of Congress and the administration and basically all of that would be in a transparent manner and would outline the objectives for negotiating. Our trade partners are really looking for TPA before they give us their best deal on the table.”

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, along with House Ways and Means Committee Chair Paul Ryan, introduced Trade Promotion Authority legislation on Thursday.

INFB President Don Villwock said their legislation will greatly benefit Hoosier farm families

“This bipartisan effort advances an important policy objective just as the administration is engaged in groundbreaking trade negotiations with potential partners in the Pacific Rim and the European Union,” he said.

Indiana ranks eighth nationally in agricultural exports, and Hoosier farmers have much to gain through congressional approval of TPA. The U.S. is coming off a record year of $152 billion in agricultural exports, and $4.8 billion of those exports come from Indiana. TPA will help keep that trend moving forward.

“TPA streamlines negotiations and strengthens our position at the bargaining table,” Villwock explained. “The growth of Indiana agriculture depends on our ability to compete in the international marketplace. We will lose potential markets and economic leadership to our competitors if we cannot negotiate and ratify trade agreements through TPA.”

Senator Hatch expects to markup the bill next Thursday and hopes for Senate passage by the end of this month. Wyden however anticipates debate for weeks before TPA is considered by the full Congress.

House Ag Chair Michael Conaway says trade is crucial for a growing and dynamic American agricultural sector that must maintain and increase access to the world’s consumers. Conaway says the U.S. cannot sit idly by and allow others to fill consumer demand around the world – and the details of trade agreements are important – but TPA is an essential part of passing those agreements. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says more than 70 organizations representing America’s farmers and ranchers support TPA because trade is vital for U.S. agriculture. Last year Vilsack says agricultural exports totaled more than 150-billion dollars and foreign markets represent half or more of total sales for many products. The National Corn Growers Association, American Feed Industry Association, National Pork Producers Council and more urge swift passage of TPA. NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage says TPA is imperative for getting U.S. trading partners to come to the negotiating table with their best and final offers. When Congress passes TPA – Prestage says U.S. trade negotiators will have the leverage they need to close the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. He says the entire U.S. economy needs TPA – and soon.

Indiana Farm Bureau encourages its members and all involved in Indiana agriculture to contact their congressional representatives and encourage them to support the passage of TPA legislation.

Facts about TPA and why it matters to Indiana agriculture:

  • The growth of Indiana agriculture depends on farmers’ ability to compete in the international marketplace.
  • According to USDA’s most recent calculations, Indiana is a leading producer and exporter of agricultural products, ranking eighth among the 50 U.S. states in the value of its agricultural exports.
  • Indiana’s agricultural exports reached an estimated $4.8 billion in 2013, up from $3.8 billion in 2009.
  • Indiana’s exports help boost farm prices and income, while supporting about 36,200 jobs both on the farm and in related industries such as food processing, transportation, and manufacturing.
  • Without the ability to negotiate and ratify trade agreements through TPA, Indiana will cede potential markets and economic leadership to our competitors.

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