American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman today urged Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority to give U.S. negotiators the leverage they need to keep America competitive in the international marketplace. TPA lets Congress consult on trade agreements, but also requires up or down votes without amendments that could jeopardize years of negotiations with foreign governments.

Stallman, a beef and rice farmer from Columbus, Texas, testified before the House Committee on Agriculture.

“America’s farmers and ranchers exported more than 152 billion dollars’ worth of farm goods last year,” Stallman said. “That’s a testament not just to their hard work and productivity, but the benefits of opening new markets around the globe, too.

“Farmers and ranchers need access to new markets around the world. The U.S. is on the verge of completing ambitious trade negotiations from Europe to Asia, but we cannot move forward unless barriers such as high tariffs and non-scientific standards are addressed,” Stallman said. “We must forge deals that knock down those trade barriers. Getting there means giving the president the Trade Promotion Authority necessary to reach those market-opening agreements.”

Congress and the administration must continue to shape and set priorities based on actual business conditions. TPA will give Congress the authority to provide valuable oversight to the trade agreement process while the administration represents our priorities before other countries. Having TPA in place before the next set of agreements reaches the table will ensure that our best interests are represented. Congress needs to pass TPA now to keep agricultural trade going forward tomorrow.