On June 23, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Senator Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) hosted a roundtable discussion on agricultural trade issues in Brighton, Colorado. USMEF was represented at the meeting by Thad Lively, senior vice president for trade access. Other parties represented from the meat and livestock sector included JBS USA, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Colorado Wool Growers Association.
Lively thanked Froman for leading the Obama administration’s ambitious trade agenda, but explained that USMEF has growing concerns about the erosion of support for global, science-based trade standards by trading partners such as Russia, China and the EU. Froman noted that he shares these concerns, and offered his commitment to making science-based standards a top priority in trade negotiations.
With regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, Froman said much of the focus has been on bilateral talks between the United States and Japan, but noted that Japan is holding important market access discussions with all TPP participants. Froman explained that while some advocate excluding Japan from the TPP, this would not stop our competitors – including other TPP participants – from negotiating their own trade agreements with Japan and putting the U.S. at a decided disadvantage.
On the issue of presidential trade promotion authority (TPA), Froman reiterated that the TPP negotiations are not affected in any way by the fact that President Obama does not have TPA. Bennett said Congress is unlikely to address TPA before the November elections, but he feels there is a good chance TPA legislation could advance from committee and possibly pass in a post-election, lame-duck session.