LINCOLN, NE – Congress should act quickly to grant the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), as Nebraska farmers, ranchers and the state’s broader economy has much to gain, said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, March 23. Every U.S. President since 1974 has been granted TPA, providing them the power to secure trade agreements with foreign partners.
“U.S. farmers and ranchers increasingly rely on agriculture exports for their livelihoods. Roughly 20 percent of U.S. farm income now comes from foreign exports,” said Nelson. “Exports aren’t just critical for agriculture, but also for Nebraska’s manufacturing sector. Nebraska exported nearly $7.9 billion worth of goods in 2014 alone.”
Food and agricultural products make up the bulk of Nebraska’s exports with over $3.5 billion worth of products being exported to dozens of countries around the globe.
“Granting the President TPA will continue to open up opportunities for agriculture and other Nebraska sectors. The U.S. is currently negotiating new trade agreements with some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, including Europe and 11 Asia-Pacific nations, through the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP),” said Nelson.
TPA for the President helps to ensure that long-negotiated trade agreements are not subject to numerous Congressional amendments and conditions that must then be taken back and forth to the negotiating table, while still allowing Congress to work with the President to set negotiating objectives.
“The passage of TPA and the approval of free trade compacts help drive economic growth and level the playing field for American farmers and ranchers internationally. It’s critical Congress move quickly to secure TPA,” said Nelson.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 59,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit nefb.org.