Calling it the catalyst to increasing agriculture exports, Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Steve Kouplen supports the U.S. House of Representatives recent passage of trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation.
"Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are heavily dependent on world trade as we export over half of our products," Kouplen said, "and this (TPA) should substantially boost agriculture exports."
The trade legislation gives President Bush the authority to negotiate trade deals that Congress can pass or reject but cannot amend. Without it, other countries are reluctant to negotiate with the United States fearing any hard-won trade agreement could be undone through amendments in the U.S. Congress.
The Senate must now pass TPA before going to Bush’s desk for signing.
Kouplen, a Beggs rancher, believes the legislation is needed since the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations have already started.
"We cannot afford to delay TPA any longer," Kouplen said. "We have talked for many years about leveling the playing field for agriculture on the world market. This will reduce trade barriers and give our producers an equal opportunity to sell their products on the world market."
The Farm Bureau leader expects the Senate to pass TPA before adjourning for its August recess.