On February 18th, AgriGrowth sent the following letter to Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation regarding Trade Promotion Authority (TPA):
Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council (AgriGrowth), I am writing to urge your support for legislation authorizing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for President Obama. Minnesota’s agriculture and food sector has experienced tremendous growth through access to export markets around the world. Current trade agreements under negotiation by the U.S. that would be accessible via TPA would allow Minnesota farmers and agribusinesses to continue to expand trade relationships that stand to benefit Minnesota’s economy.
The importance of access to foreign markets for Minnesota’s agriculture and food products cannot be overstated. Minnesota currently ranks 3rd among states in agricultural exports, marketing nearly $8 billion worth of goods in 2013. Over the past decade, Minnesota agriculture exports have experienced an impressive growth of 180%, resulting in a $58.5 billion economic impact to the state and supporting over 60,000 jobs in agriculture and related industries.
The unusual nature of trade negotiations and importance of trade to the U.S. and global economy necessitates a unique mechanism like Trade Promotion Authority. For a majority of the last forty years, administrations have been granted congressional authority to work under TPA. However, the last agreement expired in 2007 and has not been renewed since.
A key growth opportunity for Minnesota and U.S. agriculture exports is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently being negotiated between the U.S. and eleven other countries across the Asia/Pacific region. Countries currently involved in the TPP negotiations represent nearly 40% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, and in total, TPP nations represent an impressive 85% of U.S. agricultural exports.
While clearly already a critical market for Minnesota and U.S. agricultural exports, it will be important that any TPP agreement negotiated by the Obama Administration remove existing tariffs and non-scientific barriers to these key markets, while promoting a level playing field for Minnesota and U.S. exporters. Reauthorizing TPA would allow the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to advance with the cooperation of Congress and the Obama Administration, while still requiring Congressional approval of any final trade agreement.
With 95% of the world’s population located outside the U.S., Minnesota’s agriculture and food sector are well positioned to help meet growing global demand for food and other agricultural products. AgriGrowth respectfully asks for your support in passing TPA legislation.
Minnesota AgriGrowth Council