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Trade Promotion Authority the Only Route to Increased U.S. Agriculture Exports, AMI Official Testifies

Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Washington, DC—The U.S. share of global agricultural exports will continue to erode in the coming years if the Congress does not act soon on trade promotion authority (TPA), AMI Vice President for International Trade Leonard W. Condon said today in testimony before a Senate panel.

The Senate Subcommittee on Production and Price Competitiveness questioned representatives of several commodity groups about why the U.S. agricultural exports have declined over the past several years.

Condon and other agricultural representatives said unanimously that exports were hindered by high tariffs and non tariff barriers worldwide. To remedy this, Condon urged the panel to restore TPA as soon as possible. President Bush has called for the restoration of TPA before the WTO Ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar, in November.

“Clearly, if the Congress and the Administration cannot resolve this issue ... the new launch of global trade negotiations will be at risk,” Condon said. Failure to launch a new round of negotiations will accelerate the proliferation of bilateral and regional agreements that do not serve the U.S.’s global interests, Condon said.

Condon told the committee that while the meat and poultry industry has done well in the past few years, these products reach only a handful of export-friendly markets. Currently, most U.S. meat exports go to Mexico, Canada, Japan and Korea.

" ... While our exports have been doing well, a closer examination of our export profile shows that our exports are restricted to a few countries. In general, global access for U.S. meat and poultry remains severely restricted by high tariffs and numerous sanitary barriers, not all of them legitimate,” Condon said.

Condon also stressed that foreign market development and promotion is an important tool for boosting exports. Two government programs funded by USDA under the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) help support the activities of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. USMEF in turn uses these funds to assist exporters in developing foreign markets and promoting sales.

“The experience of the U.S. meat industry clearly demonstrates that a modest investment in foreign market development can yield major benefits to the U.S. economy by boosting export sales exponentially,” Condon said.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education programs.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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