Grassley Urges Retention of Law Benefiting U.S. Exporters, Including Corn Refiners, Pork Producers
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, with
jurisdiction over international trade, today urged the retention of a law that helps U.S. exporter
associations including corn refiner and pork producer groups. The Antitrust Modernization
Commission is considering whether to recommend to Congress and the President the repeal or sunset
of the Export Trading Company Act. The text of Grassley’s letter on the topic follows.
June 20, 2006
Deborah A. Garza, Chairwoman
Antitrust Modernization Commission
1120 G Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Dear Ms. Garza:
I understand that the Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) is considering whether
to recommend the repeal or sunset of the Export Trading Company Act (ETCA). I encourage the
AMC not to recommend that this law be rescinded.
The ETCA provides a limited antitrust exemption for exporter associations. Through the
ETCA, U.S. exporters may work together to lower exporting costs by sharing information regarding
foreign markets, negotiating freight rates, operating joint sales facilities, and engaging in other joint
export activities. Significantly, the ability to work together facilitates U.S. exports by permitting U.S.
exporters to take advantage of economies of scale.
The ETCA also provides another important function for exporters of certain U.S. agricultural
products. The United States has agreements with some countries that import certain U.S. agricultural
commodities that tariff rate quotas (TRQs) permitting the importation of these commodities be
administered – for practical reasons – in the United States. The U.S. government, however, does not
have the legal authority to manage export quotas. The ETCA makes it possible for industry groups
to manage export quotas without fear of antitrust liability.
Under procedures set forth in the ETCA, the U.S. corn refining industry is currently
authorized to manage the TRQ for exports of U.S.-produced high fructose corn syrup to Mexico, and
the U.S. pork industry has the potential to manage TRQs for the export of U.S. pork to the
Dominican Republic and the countries of Central America. These same industries, both of which
figure prominently in the economy of my state of Iowa, also benefit from the ability of their
respective members to work together in other ways as permitted under the ETCA, e.g., to negotiate
As Chairman of the Committee on Finance, which has jurisdiction over international trade,
I recognize the importance that the ETCA plays in facilitating U.S. exports. In addition, as a senior
member of the Committee on the Judiciary, which has jurisdiction over the antitrust laws, I
understand the importance of the limited antitrust exemption of the ETCA. I encourage the AMC
not to recommend the repeal or sunset of the ETCA.
Charles E. Grassley
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