The American Soybean Association (ASA), as part of a larger coalition of agriculture and food industry organizations, sent a letter last week to members of Congress encouraging them to support the immediate introduction and enactment of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. ASA has a particularly valuable stake in global trade, as soybeans represent the largest American agricultural export.
In the letter, the groups pointed to TPA as a critical tool in establishing and expanding trade agreements with foreign partners, without undue legislative and bureaucratic barriers. Specifically cited were the ongoing negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The groups used the opportunity to illustrate the significant benefits of trade to the domestic farm sector. “As a result of trade agreements implemented since 1989, when the U.S. began using bilateral and regional trade agreements to open foreign markets to our goods, U.S. agricultural exports have nearly quadrupled in value and now stand at a record $152.5 billion (fiscal 2014),” said the groups. “During that period, earnings from U.S. agricultural exports as a share of cash receipts to farmers have grown from 22 percent to over 35 percent.”
The groups also cited the impressive economic multiplier effect and job creation of farm and food exports, “Every $1 in U.S. farm exports is estimated to stimulate an additional $1.27 in business activity… Exports of $152.5 billion in fiscal 2014 therefore generated another $194 billion in economic activity in the U.S., bringing the total benefit to the economy to $347 billion.”
“Every $1 billion of U.S. agricultural exports,” continued the groups, “… requires the full-time work of approximately 6,600 Americans throughout the economy. Exports in fiscal 2014 therefore supported over 1 million full-time jobs.”
A full transcript of the letter and a list of signatories can be found here.