WASHINGTON, June 25, 2015—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:
"Congress took a bipartisan stand to support American businesses, communities and families, rural and urban alike. Passing Trade Promotion Authority legislation helps to secure the future of American agriculture and the rural way of life, and will protect American workers, create new opportunities for rural businesses, and protect the environment.
"Trade agreements are a driving force behind expanded U.S. exports, which means U.S. companies can provide more, better paying jobs. Last year, American agricultural exports grew to a record $152.5 billion, and the past six years represent the strongest in history for U.S. agricultural trade. Still, ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside of our borders. Trade Promotion Authority allows the U.S. to be a leader in achieving free trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that have strong labor and environmental provisions that are actually enforceable, while maintaining a level playing field for our workers and businesses and allowing farmers and ranchers to reach new customers.
"I also applaud Congress for passing Trade Adjustment Assistance, a necessary program that provides job training and other benefits to help workers compete in a globalized economy, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which provides mutual benefits to the United States and our trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa and puts in place important incentives to adopt good governance and pro-growth and pro-development policies, including on labor and human rights. This legislation is vital to ensuring protections for American workers and the continued strength of our relationships with trading partners."
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