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Trade News Update: TPA Signed into Law

Jul 02, 2015

Trade News is a periodic update that provides a concise compilation of current trade happenings and their impact on the dairy industry. This week's column by Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, discusses progress on Trade Promotion Authority, Country-of-Origin-Labeling and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).


Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)
After taking a circuitous route to the White House, “The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015,” (TPA-2015) was signed into law by President Obama on Monday, along with the Trade Adjustment Assistance and several U.S. trade preference programs. IDFA urges members to reach out and thank members of Congress who voted for the TPA bill. These members need to hear directly from constituents in their states.

“We commend the President for signing Trade Promotion Authority into law and thank the entire administration for its collaboration with Congress in passing the TPA-2015 bill,” said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA. “A lot is at stake for U.S. dairy producers, manufacturers, suppliers and marketers as our dairy exports continue to be a major success story for industry growth,” Tipton said. “These agreements will allow the U.S. dairy industry to grow and prosper with increased trade opportunities.”

Here’s a recap of the path to passage. TPA-2015 was sent to the House on June 12 and was passed by a vote of 219-211, but reauthorization of TAA failed by a vote of 126-302. Because TPA and the TAA were tied together in the bill passed by the Senate last month, they needed approval from the House in order to go to the President’s desk for signature.

After some maneuvering by House leadership, the House passed on June 18 a standalone TPA bill by a vote of 218-208. Because the House version no longer contained TAA, the bill moved back to the Senate where it was passed on June 24 by a vote of 60-38, paving a path forward for signature and progress on key trade agreements.

Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL)
Last month the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Amendments Act of 2015, which would repeal the COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken. The bill, co-sponsored by more than 50 House members, went to the full House on June 10 where members voted in favor of it.

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on June 25 about the U.S. COOL program, but it’s not clear if or when a vote will be held in the Senate.

IDFA is following these actions closely. Canada and Mexico had challenged the rule for muscle cuts of meat at the World Trade Organization, which ruled against the United States in May. If COOL requirements are not removed by Congress, the U.S. dairy industry faces potential export losses through retaliation by Canada and Mexico.

IDFA is a member of the COOL Reform Coalition, which is comprised of a diverse group of associations and companies that represent U.S. food, agriculture and manufacturing industries that advocate U.S. compliance with WTO obligations.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)
The 10th round of negotiations will be held in Brussels, Belgium, from July 13-17. For members planning to attend, a stakeholder forum will take place on July 15. The deadline for registration is tomorrow, July 3, at 6:00 p.m. Brussels time.

The top priorities for IDFA in the T-TIP negotiations include a reduction in tariffs and non-tariff barriers, stronger sanitary and phytosanitary measures and protection for U.S. exporters to continue marketing common cheese names.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at bhughes@idfa.org.

 
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