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Institute Staff Meet with Vilsack, Froman About TPA

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

NAMI Senior Vice President of International Trade Bill Westman and U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association President Stephen Sothmann joined other agricultural and trade groups in a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USTR Chief Ag Negotiator Darci Vetter and other Administration officials at a White House briefing to discuss recent Congressional efforts to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

TPA, otherwise known as "fast track" legislation, is seen as a critical component of the negotiating process, ensuring U.S. trade negotiators are able to secure the best market access deal possible in foreign markets for U.S. meat, poultry, hides and skins exporters.

During the meeting, Ambassador Froman and Secretary Vilsack noted that without TPA, many countries involved in the negotiations may not put their best market access offers forward. TPA gives those countries the assurance they need to negotiate in good faith knowing that the U.S. Congress cannot later pick apart a hard-fought agreement for political purposes.

Earlier last week, TPA initially suffered a setback in the Senate after the bill was defeated on a procedural vote. However, later in the week, TPA was reintroduced on the floor along with three other trade-related bills. It is expected to pass the Senate within the next few weeks.

The fight over TPA now moves to the House, where there are a number of members of Congress that are still undecided on the bill. Administration officials encouraged Institute members to contact their representatives to convey the importance of TPA and the pending trade agreements to their businesses.

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