WASHINGTON, April 16, 2015 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement:
“U.S. agriculture applauds the introduction of Trade Promotion Authority legislation today. We look for quick action by Congress to provide the President with the authority to pursue agreements that open markets for America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusiness.
Over 70 organizations representing America’s farmers and ranchers support trade promotion authority because trade is vital for U.S. agriculture. Last year, agricultural exports totaled more than $150 billion and for many of our products, foreign markets represent half or more of total sales. Those exports supported approximately 1 million U.S. jobs last year. The economy is strengthened in rural communities and throughout the entire country from the additional economic activity that flows from the expanded farm and processing business. Standing still is not an option.
Not only do we face barriers in important foreign markets, but we are currently being hurt as these countries negotiate agreements that lower barriers for our competitors. U.S. agriculture’s interests are best served by ensuring America is at the table with strong negotiating authority.”