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.
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.
China's regulatory approval process results in asynchronous approvals with the U.S., with implications for the export of U.S. soybeans and corn to China. The gap in regulatory approvals means that a company must either restrict farmers' access to new technology for an additional 1-2 growing seasons or commercialize a product that grain handlers may not accept on the basis that it is not approved for import in all major markets.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a potential free trade agreement (FTA) among the U.S. and 10 other countries of the Asia-Pacific region—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Japan formally joined the negotiations in the 18th round of negotiations which ended in late July. The goal is to conclude the talks by the end of 2013.
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.