FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IRVINE, Calif. (June 12, 2015) — Today, by a vote of 219 to 211, the House of Representatives passed the portion of the Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 that would renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the Administration. Unfortunately, it did not pass a provision renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that was part of the Senate bill. This failure keeps the entire package from being sent to the president for his signature. House passage of TPA follows the strong bi-partisan support it garnered in the Senate last month. It 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 today’s House action, Western Growers President and CEO, Tom Nassif issued the following statement:
“The fresh produce industry applauds the House for passing legislation to renew Trade Promotion Authority. We especially commend the 24 members of the California, Arizona, and Colorado delegations who voted YES on TPA for their bi-partisan support renewing this important trade negotiating tool. We hope this vote indicates a growing desire by members on both sides of the aisle to reach out in the spirit of compromise and pass pragmatic legislation that addresses real economic issues. In the meantime, we urge members in both parties to come to an agreement for moving the remaining trade provisions needed to send this critical legislation to the president’s desk for signature.
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. It establishes trade-negotiating objectives that reflect today’s economic challenges and creates a robust framework for Congressional and stakeholder input before Congress takes an up or down vote on trade agreements.”