WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – The U.S. Senate, with a 60-38 vote, on June 25 adopted the law giving President Obama the power to “fast-track” talks on free-trade pacts such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after months of fierce debate in both houses of the Congress.

Passage of the measure was viewed as a major victory by members of the U.S. grain and feed industries. Cargill, in a press release, said the U.S. economy and the world’s food supplies rely on international trade. It noted that trade supports one in five U.S. jobs, including nearly 1 million farmers and agricultural workers who produce exports that supply the world with high-quality and affordable food.

“Getting TPA passed is positive not only for the U.S. economy, but for all the world’s citizens,” said Cargill President and Chief Executive Officer David MacLennan. “President Obama can now move forward with trade deals that will allow food to move more freely across international borders. That’s good news for farmers and consumers all over the world.”

Passage of the TPA bill allows the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries to move forward on negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that represents 40% of the world’s economy. The Trans-Pacific Partnership aims to set a precedent for modern international trade, which would also include standards for environmental protection and labor rights.
Cargill said it believes this deal will benefit the world economy, including U.S. businesses that would be able to reach 485 million new customers in Asia.

The American Feed Industry Association urged President Obama to sign TPA quickly “so overseas market opportunities for the U.S. animal food industry and the rest of American agriculture can be realized as soon as possible.”

“TPA will provide the U.S. animal food industry access to growing world markets,” said Joel Newman, AFIA president and CEO. “AFIA thanks Congress for recognizing the importance of TPA in order to continue growth in the animal food and agricultural industries.”

American Soybean Association President and Texas soybean farmer Wade Cowan said passage of the bill was crucial for soybean farmers, who export most of their product.

“The U.S. exports roughly 60 percent of the soybeans we grow,” Cowan said. “That investment in overseas markets creates demand here at home, and translates to real dollars for farmers and rural communities,” Cowan said. “Plus, for the nation as a whole, trade both creates and sustains jobs. Every billion dollars in U.S. agricultural exports supports almost 7,000 American jobs. An administration equipped with TPA is better able to represent this essential component of our economy at the bargaining table.”