House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas
This is an excerpt reprinted with permission from The Hagstrom Report, a news service providing original national and international agricultural news to its subscribers.
After a hearing Wednesday that featured testimony from farm leaders favoring trade promotion authority, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said “it is time to pass TPA,” but House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has said he is still undecided.
“While agricultural exports account for nearly one-third of total U.S. farm income, several opportunities exist to further expand market access while leveling the global playing field for American farmers and ranchers,” Conaway said in a news release.
“In passing TPA, Congress defines trade priorities along with the terms and conditions under which the president may enter into trade agreements,” he said.
“TPA would pave the way for our trade negotiators to finalize key trade deals that work for agriculture by giving our negotiating partners the confidence to bring their best offers to the table. If we are unsuccessful in our efforts to gain access to markets for American food and fiber products, other countries will fill that demand. That is why it is time to pass TPA.”
But Peterson did not add a statement to the committee news release, as is the custom when the chairman and ranking member are in agreement.
Peterson has said repeatedly that he has not decided whether to support TPA or not.
“Peterson wants assurances that the Trans Pacific Partnership — known as TPP — will increase exports for farmers in his rural district,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported.
Importance of Trade to U.S. Agriculture
— Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas — Opening Statement
— Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation
— Howard Hill, National Pork Producers Council
— Pete Kappelman, National Milk Producers Federation
— Robert Guenther, United Fresh Produce Association
*Star Tribune — Minnesota congressional delegation split on fast-track trade measure
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