TPA passed into legislation

TPA passed into legislation

US food exporters have welcomed the Senate's passage of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which will give President Barack Obama powers to progress international free trade agreements.

The TPA legislation gives executive office the power to agree trade deals that will then either be ratified or rejected by the House and Senate, taking away the legislative branch's ability to demand changes to the detail of any agreements. The TPA aims to speed the negotiating process and strengthen the US's hand in trade talks.

Responding to the news, the International Dairy Foods Association said that it is seeking "comprehensive and significant" market access for US dairy exports under two trade agreements currently in negotiation – the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

"The US dairy industry will continue to grow and prosper with increased trade opportunities, and TPA is critical to ensuring that US dairy companies receive the best deal in future trade agreements," Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA, said.

The National Chicken Council was equally upbeat on the news. "Our negotiators now have better tools to speak as a unified voice and to make sure the interests of US chicken producers are on the table and considered in any trade package moving forward," said NCC president Mike Brown. "TPA will ensure foreign access for US chicken, generate more farm income, jobs in rural districts, and improve the US trade balance."

The TPA had faced opposition from left-of-centre critics who argued reducing trade barriers would threaten American jobs, with workers facing the prospect of being undercut by countries where pay conditions are lower.