ARLINGTON, Virginia — The U.S. wheat industry welcomes the introduction of legislation to grant the President of the United States trade promotion authority (TPA).
“We are pleased to see bipartisan support for trade promotion authority and hope Congress will act quickly to pass this important legislation,” said Bing von Bergen, a wheat farmer from Moccasin, MT, and president of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). “Putting TPA in place will create a fast track for negotiations on current and future trade agreements that will benefit U.S. wheat farmers.”
The TPA legislation outlines U.S. trade policy objectives and sets out conditions for the President to negotiate free trade agreements and other trade liberalizing initiatives as well as allowing for Congressional consideration of these agreements without amendment. Also known as “fast track,” TPA builds confidence with our negotiating partners that once an agreement is reached, Congress cannot change it. The bill also institutionalizes consultation requirements to ensure that Congress and the President maintain a strong partnership in advancing trade policy goals.
The directors of NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) recently passed a resolution supporting passage of TPA “as an essential tool for negotiating market-opening free trade agreements,” including the 12 country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S. and European Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks. These two agreements, currently in negotiation, will lower barriers to U.S. wheat exports in several key markets. These agreements will also help ensure that U.S. wheat producers have the same market access as other wheat exporters including Canada and Australia.
“Our competitors are moving fast and with success to sign beneficial trade agreements,” said Dan Hughes, a wheat farmer from Venango, NE, and USW chairman. “TPA would give our trade negotiators a unified voice and the power to push for the best deal for U.S. farmers, businesses and workers. Without TPA, we risk falling farther and farther behind in a growing international market.”
The United States is the world’s largest wheat exporter, offering customers around the globe a reliable, high-quality supply of six wheat classes. In the 2012/13 marketing year, ended May 31, 2013, the United States exported about 27 million metric tons (nearly 1 billion bushels) of wheat valued at about $9.0 billion, which supports thousands of jobs and creates economic benefits across the country. More on the industry’s trade work is at www.wheatworld.org/trade orwww.uswheat.org/whatwedo/tradepolicy.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is a federation of 22 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability.