US meat, dairy industries support presidential TPA extension

Publish time: 13th January, 2014      Source:
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January 13, 2014



US meat, dairy industries support presidential TPA extension




The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) as well as the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) support and welcome the passage of legislation extending presidential Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).



"The US is currently engaged in the most critical free trade agreement negotiations in our nation''s history," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "Both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have untold potential for US agricultural exports. For these negotiations to fulfil their potential, our trade officials need the strongest possible hand when they are at the negotiating table. Our trading partners need to know that once these agreements are negotiated, they are not going to be changed as they go through the approval process in Congress. The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act introduced this week will ensure that Congress continues to have a strong voice on trade while giving the administration the support it needs to achieve the best possible outcome for the US red meat industry from the TPP and TTIP negotiations."



The bipartisan legislation sets forth key negotiating objectives for the Administration, and outlines engagement requirements providing for an enhanced role for Congress in trade negotiation consultations.



The TPA-2014 legislation contains several elements of importance to the US dairy industry, including: (1) prioritisation of tariff reduction for US products that face significantly higher foreign tariffs or subsidy regimes by major producing countries, both of which are global challenges for US dairy exports; (2) The pursuit of strong and enforceable rules on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures; (3) Direction urging the Administration to eliminate and prevent the undermining of market access for US products through improper use of geographical indications, and; (4) A specific negotiating focus on goods subject to US tariff rate quotas, as is the case for most dairy products.



"This legislation recognises the importance of clearly identifying the goals and priorities that are most vital to the successful negotiation of balanced trade agreements," said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.



"We are very pleased to see the TPA legislation recognises the many challenges facing US agricultural exports, including dairy products, and its rightful focus on how negotiations should best address barriers to trade," declared Tom Suber, President of USDEC.



Both organisations stressed that TPA''s role is to lay the ground work for Congressional consideration of trade agreements but it is by no means an automatic stamp of approval on any agreement currently underway. The details of each final trade deal and the degree to which it meets the dairy industry''s key priority for that negotiation will determine whether or not that agreement is one that merits support.



NMPF and USDEC expressed their support for swift advancement of TPA through Congress in order to provide renewed direction to the US negotiating teams working diligently to pursue balanced Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreements. The groups said congressional approval of TPA would provide for the ultimate up or down consideration of TPP and TTIP by Congress without the threat of amendments that would undermine the credibility of US negotiators.



The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, Virginia, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of US dairy producers and the cooperatives they collectively own. The members of NMPF''s cooperatives produce the majority of the US milk supply, making NMPF the voice of nearly 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies.



The US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organisation that represents the global trade interests of US dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders.