Key Priority Trade Policy Issues

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement

At a November 2011 US.-EU summit meeting, leaders from both sides directed the Transatlantic Council to establish a high level working group on jobs and growth and assess options to strengthen the US-EU trade relationship and have the highest potential to support jobs and growth. Together, the United States and the European Union generate half of the global GDP. More than $1.5 trillion in goods, services, and income receipts flow between the US and EU annually. U.S firms have direct investments of nearly $2 trillion in the EU and these European investments generate some $3 trillion in annual revenues for American companies. A US Chamber of Commerce study found that eliminating transatlantic tariffs would boost US-EU Trade by more than $120 billion within five years. It would also generate GDP gains of $180 billion.

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Trade Promotion Authority

Congress has pressed the Administration to request renewed trade promotion authority, also known as "fast-track"—a process for trade legislation that prevents congressional amendment and requires an up or down vote within a set period of time. This legislation will be necessary for Congress to formally consider both the TPP and T-TIP trade agreements. Current TPA authority expired in 2007. The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways Committee are working on legislation to restore TPA but it is unlikely to be introduced until after the August recess.

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Transportation Infrastructure

Transportation modes serving agriculture have experienced strains over the last five years. US agricultural exports are projected to increase with global population growth and expansion of the consumer class, leading to a demand for more and better quality food. The current capacity for storage, trains, loading, inspection, ships, port capacity, etc. will be inadequate to meet projected demand for US feed and food products from China, India, and South East Asia.

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Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements

All three FTAs will provide $2.5 billion annually in additional US agricultural exports when the FTAs are in full effect. The U.S. has relatively open markets for corn in South Korea and Panama but the FTAs will lock in zero tariffs and negate their ability to reinstate tariffs at higher levels. The FTAs provide marketing opportunities for co-products, along with sorghum and barley. Colombia is critical as it is a strong growth market for coarse grains and value-added products given it projected growth in GDP and middle class. However, U.S. share of coarse grain exports have plummeted from a high of $633 million in 2008 to $118 million in 2010. Argentina and Brazil have displaced U.S. market share because of their favorable tariff treatment with Colombia under the Mercosur Agreement.

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FMD and MAP Funding

Market Development Programs have historically received political support from the Administration and Congress. The Market Access Program is authorized at $200 million while the Foreign Market Development program is funded at $34.5 million in both the Senate and House versions of 2013 Farm Bill. An amendment offered by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) to eliminate MAP funding was defeated by a 322-98 vote, signalling that grass roots efforts were successful. Nonetheless, we can expect continued efforts by opponents to offer similar amendments on Ag. Appropriations and other related legislation.

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