Indicating the importance of international trade to the food, beverage and consumer product industry, the Grocery Manufacturers of America today named Roger Enrico, vice chairman of PepsiCo, Inc., to lead GMA efforts in urging Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.

Enrico will serve as GMA's industry envoy about the benefits of international trade and the critical need for TPA in order to secure vital trade deals such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas and the next round of World Trade Organization talks.

"President Bush has made a compelling case for Congress to act on Trade Promotion Authority this year," said Stephen W. Sanger, chairman and CEO of General Mills, Inc., and chairman of the GMA Board of the Directors. "Roger's longstanding interest and expertise in international trade issues makes him an excellent choice to lead our efforts to communicate GMA's strong support of Trade Promotion Authority."

"Processed foods and beverages clearly is one of the fastest growing U.S. export categories," said Roger Enrico. "But our industry is faced with complex tariff barriers tend to limit our ability to grow. Trade Promotion Authority will be a shot in the arm for new free trade deals and should spark meaningful progress in WTO talks."

TPA, formerly known as fast track, is viewed by GMA as an essential element of a successful US trade policy. It establishes a partnership between the Administration and the Congress that protects trade agreements from amendment by requiring an "up or down" vote by Congress.

With TPA, the Administration can assure trading partners that commitments made during negotiations will be honored when Congress considers legislation. Without TPA, it is unlikely that trading partners will put forth meaningful offers for fear concessions made in negotiations will be withdrawn later.

A top priority of GMA since the authority was allowed to lapse in 1994, securing TPA is a key part of future growth of the food and consumer products industry. A central part of GMA's strategy to help pass TPA will be active participation as a steering committee member of USTrade, a broad-based coalition of more than 350 agriculture, consumer, high-technology, manufacturing and service organizations.