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Senate Passes Trade Promotion Authority

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The U.S. Senate last week voted 62-37 to give President Obama fast-track negotiating authority to conclude the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations. Fourteen Democrats joined 48 Republicans in voting in favor of the bill, which would grant Congress the power to consider trade agreements with an up-or-down vote, without the possibility of offering amendments that could block a deal. The bill also would establish concrete rules for U.S. trade negotiators to help the United States deliver strong, high-standard trade agreements that will boost American exports and create new economic opportunities and better jobs for American workers, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs. The fast-track trade bill now proceeds to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Meat Institute strongly supports the TPA bill and has been working closely with other industry and business associations to push for its passage. These efforts include signing a series of joint association letters regarding recently proposed amendments to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA).

In a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Meat Institute and the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA), along with association and industry partners, expressed concern over proposed amendments that attempt to alter U.S. trade remedy laws, which allow U.S. domestic producers to obtain trade relief from foreign exports when it has been demonstrated that the goods have been imported in violation of the antidumping or countervailing duty standards, and that a U.S. industry has been materially injured by these imports. NAMI and USHSLA also signed a joint association letter urging the U.S. Senate to reject an amendment introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) that would require enforceable currency provisions in trade agreements-a measure that, if adopted, would likely undercut Tans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

Further, in a letter sent to the Senate by the Emergency Committee for American Trade, NAMI and USHSLA joined other associations in opposing an amendment to the TPA bill that would, if passed, require future administrations to certify that China has fully transitioned to a market economy prior to allowing it to join the TPP. This step, the letter states, would impede future trade negotiations with China, and could hinder the country's move to a market-driven economy.

Meanwhile, the Meat Institute and USHSLA expressed support for an amendment introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) related to currency practices. The letter noted that the amendment would bolster the ability to address unfair currency practices in trade agreements by focusing on large-scale, one-way interventions in exchange markets.

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