April 04,2002

Grassley on the President's Call for Trade Promotion Authority

Today President Bush is calling for the Senate to bring Trade Promotion Authority and theAndean Trade Preference Act to the Senate floor by April 22. Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking memberof the Committee on Finance, for months has urged the Senate leadership to schedule a vote on TradePromotion Authority as soon as possible. In December, the Finance Committee voted 18 to 3 forTrade Promotion Authority legislation authored by Grassley and committee Chairman Max Baucus.Last month, Grassley released a letter to the Senate leadership signed by 26 senators that urged aTrade Promotion Authority vote. Grassley made the following comment on the President’s actiontoday.

“The President’s right. Every day without Trade Promotion Authority is another day theUnited States can’t fully advance the interests of its farmers, workers and businesses at thenegotiating table.

“Our agricultural negotiators are in Geneva now. They’re fighting for better market accessfor our farmers. But without TPA, other countries that want to shield their markets from competitionwill shape the agenda and timing of these critical talks. This is devastating for America’sexport-dependent farm economy.

“I recently received a letter about this from Glen Keppy. Glen is a third generation family porkproducer from Davenport, Iowa. Glen told me about the huge foreign tariffs on pork – averagingclose to 100 percent – and the other foreign trade barriers that hamper his ability to export.According to Glen, ‘the only way our family operation will survive over the long term is if we canconvince other nations to lower or remove their trade barriers.’ If the Senate Democratic leaderswon’t listen to the President, I hope they listen to the farmers and small business owners who dependon trade to pay the bills.

“Free trade isn’t just a matter of economics. It’s also key to U.S. foreign policy. Marketopeningtrade deals with countries like Afghanistan help bring stability and prosperity to oppressednations. The United States can use its economic leadership to bring more nations into democracyand prosperity. Trade helps us do that.”