AURORA >>Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) today expressed its disappointment in the narrow passage of fast track legislation.
After only one hour of regulated debate on the issue, the House Republicans squeaked out a one-vote win on presidential trade negotiation authority.
“Granting the President full authority to shape trade policy does not favor the agricultural producer in this country,” said John Stencel, president of RMFU. “Without binding requirements and congressional oversight, as is the case with fast track, trade is reduced to the lowest common denominator leaving behind acceptable standards for labor and the environment, important issues to America’s agricultural producers.”
“We now need to stop fast track in the Senate,” Stencel added.
During recent trade talks in Doha, Qatar, U.S. trade representatives agreed to include in the World Trade Organization (WTO) agenda anti-dumping protections and other domestic trade laws that counter unfair trade practices and import surges from other countries. Fast track legislation would allow the administration to negotiate away domestic trade laws that can be used to protect U.S. producers from unfair trade practices by other countries.
Over the last five years, competitive agricultural imports into the United States have increased 30 percent, while U.S. agricultural exports have yet to reach the level achieved in 1996.