WASHINGTON, June 24, 2015 –The Republican leadership’s deal to secure passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) included a commitment to send the president an extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs, a renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Both AGOA and GSP allow for duty-free imports of some products, including farm commodities, from developing countries.
A bill (HR 1295) that wraps together extensions of TAA, AGOA and GSP would expand the amount of agricultural technical assistance available to poor countries, including aid in meeting food safety standards as well as sanitary and phytosanitary rules. The Food Safety Modernization Act is setting up new requirements that will be difficult for farmers in many poor countries to meet. The bill’s provision, Section 109, puts a priority on helping businesses that engage women. The Senate is expected to approve the bill by Thursday and send it back to the House for a final vote before it goes to President Obama.
The House and Senate still have to reach agreement at some point on a third bill (HR 644) that authorizes a number of trade enforcement measures. Honey producers secured provisions in the bill to help the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stop Chinese honey from being shipped through third countries to avoid antidumping duties. There’s also a provision to require Customs to distribute interest on the duties to affected honey producers. CBP has not been turning over the interest payments.
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