A senior Obama administration official late last week said that the White House is hopeful it can strike a deal with Congress to renew the lapsed expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. This would clear the way for the administration to submit the free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea for Congressional approval. IDFA has consistently urged passage of these agreements, which feature major dairy benefits.
"The pursuit of additional trade agreements with significant dairy benefits provides an excellent opportunity for growth of the U.S. dairy industry," said John Kelly, IDFA's manager of international affairs, "These pending bilateral agreements are very strong for dairy and it's very important we get them passed before our competitors implement their own agreements with these countries"
Several obstacles have been holding up their submission to Congress. The biggest hurdle has been the debate over the renewal of an expanded TAA program that provides benefits to workers perceived as being negatively affected by trade-related competition. The Obama administration has indicated that it will not submit the three FTAs to Congress without first reaching a deal to renew TAA.
Estimates indicate that passage of the Korea FTA would result in up to $336 million in increased dairy exports. The Panama and Colombia agreements are also strong for U.S. dairy; they are each expected to produce gains of an additional $25 million in exports per year.
For more information on trade agenda developments, contact Kelly, IDFA international affairs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-220-3507.