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Potential Gains For Texas Ag In EU & Pacific Trade Talks

Lower agricultural trade barriers are a major goal of U.S. trade negotiations with the European Union and Japan.



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Lower agricultural trade barriers are a major goal of U.S. trade negotiations with the European Union and Japan. Texas has a lot riding on the outcome of those talks. The state’s agricultural exports are rising rapidly. Grain exports through the Port of Houston exceeded 6 million tons in 2013, up 80% from 2012.

Ambassador Michael Froman is U.S. Trade Representative.

“Last year was a record year for U.S. agricultural exports, almost $150 billion. Eleven billion of that came from Texas, and we see great opportunities for Texas farmers from the beef, poultry, [and] cotton sectors, among others.”

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says sustaining those exports depends on concluding the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic trade partnerships.

“There’s a risk of not getting something done, and that risk is that we encourage the folks that we’re in negotiations with today to leave the United States out of future negotiations. And that will put us, I think, at a competitive disadvantage.”

Congress is now considering bills to renew Trade Promotion Authority, which expired in 2007. The legislation would require members to vote without amendment on trade pacts submitted by the White House.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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