AGRIBUSINESS: Trade Promotion Authority Closer To Passing

The Obama Administration is trying again to get Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) off the ground.

U.S. trade Representative Michael Froman says this time the votes are there, as long as a good deal is reached in a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). He says members of the Legislative Branch doubt they can negotiate trade deals as a group.

But a coalition of prominent agricultural organizations including the National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Meat Institute, National Association of Wheat Growers, and U.S. Wheat Associates say the U.S. should not accept the recent offer Japan made in TPP talks.

Japan wants to exempt almost 11 percent of its tariff schedule, that’s about 590 tariff lines. The ag groups say this is a radical departure from previous U.S. free trade agreements and sets an unacceptable precedent for future trade deals.

Another sticking point is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks. The European Union announced it will not eliminate tariffs on beef, poultry, and pork nor will they change legislation about beef hormones and the feed additive ractopamine.

TPA gives the executive branch the power to propose trade deals that Congress can pass or reject, but not amend.

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