The American Soybean Association (ASA) today applauds the agreement reached last night by House and Senate negotiators on legislation granting the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and calls on both bodies to approve it immediately. The House is expected to vote on the TPA bill tonight, and the Senate will likely take up the measure next week.TPA allows the President to negotiate trade agreements and present them to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote. Every President since President Carter has had this authority, but it expired in 1994 and hasn’t been reauthorized.”Securing passage of TPA will be great news for U.S. soybean farmers,” exclaimed American Soybean Association (ASA) President Dwain Ford from his farm in Kinmundy, Illinois. “TPA is critical if U.S. soybean farmers are to remain competitive in the world marketplace.”Ninety-six percent of the world’s population lives outside the U.S. With U.S. soybean farmers dependent on export markets for one out of every two rows produced, the prosperity of U.S. Soybean farmers is linked closely to enhanced economic growth worldwide and increased market access. However, tariffs on soybeans and soybean products in a number of countries are very high and need to be reduced if U.S. growers are to remain competitive.The most effective way of reducing these types of trade barriers is through multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as bilateral trade agreements. However, in the absence of TPA, other countries are refusing to negotiate final agreements with the U.S because they would be subject to further changes by Congress. In fact, the U.S. is a part of only two of the more than 130 preferential trade agreements that are currently in force throughout the world. TPA is expected to help address this problem.”We’ve waited a long time for this, and ASA would like to thank all those who fought hard to ensure that TPA was enacted this year,” Ford concluded.Once Congress gives its final approval of TPA legislation, the bill will be forwarded to the White House. Upon its receipt, the President is expected to sign the measure into law.