On March 16, more than 50 U.S. agriculture and food groups urged Congress to approve new legislation enabling the U.S. to negotiate more free-trade agreements, arguing that without them American agriculture was falling behind global competitors, reports Reuters.
The groups said efforts by President Joe Biden's administration to open new agriculture export markets were insufficient to overcome the growing network of free-trade deals forged by the European Union, China and other countries.
"Regrettably, America is falling badly behind. Between 2010 and 2020, China and the European Union enjoyed over twice as much advantage from trade agreement tariff reductions as the U.S.," the groups wrote.
"This should be a wake-up call regarding America's declining economic influence in the world due to our failure to advance new tariff reducing trade agreements," they added, asking lawmakers to pass legislation for new Trade Promotion Authority.
Since 1974, Congress has enacted TPA legislation that defines U.S. negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the President to follow throughout the negotiation process. At the end of the negotiation and consultation process, Congress gives the agreement an up or down vote, without amendment. TPA reaffirms Congress’s overall constitutional role in the development and oversight of U.S. trade policy.
TPA was last used to renegotiate a new North American trade agreement implemented in 2020, but the authority expired in July 2021.
The Biden administration has indicated no interest in renewing TPA or negotiating new comprehensive free trade agreements with tariff reductions.