I just wanted to publicly thank U.S. Rep. Phil English for his courageous vote in supporting passage of Trade Promotion Authority. I say courageous because I’m fully aware of the pressure he received to oppose the legislation.
I believe Congressman English, like myself, did not support Trade Promotion Authority because he thinks free trade has always been fair trade, or that there have not been negative consequences from unfair trade practices in his district. He supported TPA because he recognized we must be fully engaged in future negotiations if we are to have any hope of correcting the many problems that exist in trade practices today.
I am a farmer in the district who recognizes how important trade is to expanding markets for our products. However, while trade is adding value to some of what we produce locally, we also face major obstacles to fully realizing the benefits of fair trade.
Our competitors receive support that is four times greater than U.S. producers. Tariffs on our products are on average five times greater than our import tariffs, and European export subsidies are 40 times what U.S. goods receive. Our competitors push the bounds of international trade rules to benefit their producers, while our farmers and ranchers pay the price.
Passage of trade negotiating authority is a critical first step on the path to righting these wrongs. Congressman English’s vote in favor of TPA was a vote for hard-working Americans in his district, including farmers and the general labor force.