Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NCBA applauds Senate passage of trade authority

Count the National Cattlemen's Beef Association among groups that are happy about the U.S. Senate's passage late last week of the trade promotion authority bill.

“This vote by the Senate is a clear indication of the support that exists nationwide for future free trade agreements," NCBA president and Wyoming cattleman Phillip Ellis said in a statement. "The U.S. market is already one of the most open markets in the world, and to continue to grow demand for U.S. beef, we must continue to negotiate tariff elimination worldwide. I urge the House to follow the lead of the Senate and pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement:

"Today the Senate helped move America closer to securing responsible agreements that open markets for America's farmers, ranchers and agribusiness and create jobs and improve wages across the country. Over 70 organizations representing America's farmers and ranchers, and past secretaries of agriculture in both parties dating back to the Carter Administration all support trade promotion authority because export sales are vital for U.S. agriculture. Last year, agricultural exports totaled more than $150 billion and for many of our products, foreign markets represent half or more of total sales. Those exports supported approximately 1 million U.S. jobs last year. The economy is strengthened and better paying jobs are created in rural America and communities throughout the country by the additional economic activity that flows from expanded farm and food businesses.

"Standing still is not an option. Our farmers and ranchers face exorbitant tariffs and others barriers in important foreign markets, and if we do not act to maintain and gain market share in these places, our competitors will. U.S. agriculture's interests are best served by ensuring America is at the table with strong negotiating authority."

My colleague Carol Ryan Dumas is working on a comprehensive report of agriculture's reaction to the trade bill's developments. Watch for her story at CapitalPress.com.

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