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Important Vote Expected for U.S. Trade

June 8, 2015

By: Melissa San Miguel, Director, Global Strategies

May was World Trade Month (not as much fun to celebrate as National Ice Cream Day, maybe – that’s July 19, for the record), which coincided nicely with the U.S. Senate’s approval of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

June could be an even bigger month for U.S. trade, since we expect the House of Representatives to debate and, we hope, pass this important legislation.  TPA allows Congress to define objectives for U.S. trade deals and gives the President the authority to negotiate and conclude agreements that will open new markets for U.S. manufacturers and set 21st century rules for a level economic playing field.

U.S. processed food and beverage exports exceeded $46 billion in 2014, contributing to the strongest five-year growth in agriculture exports in U.S. history.   The vast majority of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and we know those customers are hungry for the safe, reliable, enjoyable products Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) member companies produce.

Currently, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Japan are the biggest export markets for the U.S. processed food and beverage industry.  With expanding middle classes around the world, demand for our industry’s products will continue to grow dramatically.

That’s why we need the House to pass TPA now – so Congress and the President can finalize the legislation and move forward with concluding trade agreements that will ensure U.S. food and beverage manufacturers can access these new opportunities, grow existing business, and compete fairly in global markets.

What about the impacts of trade here at home?  Trade supports jobs.  Period.  The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers, and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.  The U.S. Trade Representative’s office estimates every one billion dollars in exports supports 6,000 jobs in the United States.

TPA will pave the way for the United States to negotiate ambitious trade deals with some of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic economies in the world.  GMA considers the TPP and TTIP agreements as historic opportunities to level the playing field and establish 21st century rules to govern international trade, a chance to strengthen regional integration across the Asia-Pacific region and deepen our already vast economic relationship with Europe.

We urge the House to pass the Trade Promotion Authority legislation, and then we will look forward to fulfilling the promise of these ambitious, high-standards agreements to deliver increased trade and investment and mutually beneficial economic growth.

 

 

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