Senate to debate 'fast-track' bill

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – The US Senate voted 65-33 in favor of taking a vote on the Bipartisan Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 which would expedite the process of getting trade deals through Congress.

The vote comes during negotiations of two trade agreements: The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). If approved, the trade agreements would expand markets for US products in the European Union, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Larry Pope, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods, applauded the vote, calling it an important step to passing TPA and expanding US agricultural exports.

“Trade is critical to US agriculture,” Pope said. “Since we began negotiating free trade deals, US agricultural exports have nearly quadrupled in value. Passing TPA will create extraordinary opportunity for our company, our employees, and for farmers and manufacturers throughout the state, and we strongly encourage Congress and the President to act swiftly.”

In addition to an up-or-down vote on trade deals, any final agreements reached would be subject to a 60-day public comment period before President Obama signs the agreements and up to four months before a congressional vote.
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