June 24, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Western Growers Hails Passage of Trade Bill in Senate; Awaits Presidential Bill Signing


For interviews, contact:        
Wendy Fink-Weber
Senior Director of Communications
(949) 885-2256
Jeff Janas
Communications Manager
(949) 885-2318

IRVINE, Calif. (June 24, 2015) — Today, by a vote of 60 to 38, the Senate passed legislation renewing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the Administration. With the Senate’s action, the legislation will now go to the president, who is expected to sign the bill in the days ahead. Today’s vote follows the strong bi-partisan support this legislation garnered in the Senate last month in addition to last week in the House. TPA is an important tool that allows U.S. negotiators to conclude trade negotiations and further expand export opportunities for fruit, vegetable, and tree nut producers.

In response to Senate passage of the legislation, Western Growers President and CEO, Tom Nassif issued the following statement:
“Today’s action represents a significant win for the fresh produce industry.  Through strong leadership in the House and Senate we have seen members  on both sides of the aisle reach out in the spirit of compromise and pass pragmatic legislation that will address real economic issues.  Following today’s Senate vote, we especially commend Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) for resisting opposition in both parties and continually supporting this important trade negotiating tool as the congressional process unfolded over the last month.”

While the produce sector experiences an overall trade deficit, $15 billion in U.S. exports of fresh produce commodities compared to nearly $19 billion in imports, the expansion of foreign markets is critical to opening and expanding markets for the fresh produce industry. TPA will allow our U.S. negotiators to get the best deal possible with our trading partners. In the near term, passage of TPA paves the way for the completion of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and what we anticipate to be significant market opening opportunities across the Pacific Rim.