U.S. Senate Passes Trade Promotion Authority Bill

The United States accounts for nearly 40 percent of the world's annual corn exports.
The United States accounts for nearly 40 percent of the world's annual corn exports.

With a vote of 62-37, the U.S. Senate has approved of the Trade Promotion Authority bill. The decision was made on May 22, and the bill will now move onto the House of Representatives.

Under the TPA, Congress has the authority to decide whether a proposed U.S. trade agreement will be made official. The bill also outlines Congressional guidance to the President on trade policy priorities.

"Today the Senate helped move America closer to securing responsible agreements that open markets for America's farmers, ranchers and agribusiness and create jobs and improve wages across the country,” stated Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, following the announcement of the bill’s approval.

Vilsack went on to cite that agricultural exports totaled $150 billion in 2014. Exports to foreign markets made up about half of the total sales. Additionally, more than one million jobs were created as a result of these exports.

“U.S. agriculture's interests are best served by ensuring America is at the table with strong negotiating authority,” Vilsack continued.

The TPA defines the conditions and terms under which Congress allows the Administration to enter trade agreements. The trade agreements being created at the moment (T-TIP and TPP) include 65 percent of the world’s goods and services trade.

In addition to Vilsack, agriculture industry representatives from the National Milk Producers Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association also showed their support for the bill.