Daines, Montana Ag & Business Leaders Call for Passage of Trade Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today joined Montana farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and business leaders in calling for the swift passage of bipartisan legislation to give Congress and the American people a greater voice in trade negotiations.

“Montanans know the importance of trade to our state’s economy. Montana ag producers, manufacturers and small businesses need fair and transparent trade policies that increase access to new markets and help grow their businesses,” Daines stated. “This bipartisan trade legislation is an important first step in establishing clear guidelines that enforce transparency, maintain Congress’ important role in the process and ensure Montanans’ voices are heard in all trade negotiations. I look forward to working alongside Montanans to guarantee that we have strong policies in place that help increase opportunity and ensure Montana farmers, ranchers and small businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 will help expand Montanans’ access to new markets by establishing a transparent process and clear guidelines for the terms that an administration must follow before, during and after any trade negotiations. This legislation is a critical step toward increasing economic opportunity for Montana farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses through the implementation of new free trade agreements.

International trade holds an important role in Montana’s economy:

  • 80 percent of Montana’s wheat is exported annually
  • In Montana, more than $900 million in bulk wheat and $130 million in beef is exported every year
  • Trade policies helps save the average Montana family of four more than $10,000 per year
  • International trade supports 1 in 5 Montana jobs
  • Trade-related employment grew 2.7 times faster than total state employment from 2004 to 2013
  • Customers in 176 countries and territories buy Montana-made goods and services

Montana agriculture, manufacturing and small business leaders spoke out today in support of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 and Daines’ efforts to expand Montanans’ access to new markets:

John Youngberg, Executive Vice President of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation: “The Montana Farm Bureau thanks Senator Daines for his support of TPA. As TPA is necessary to ensure that fair and equitable trade pacts are negotiated and passed, this legislation is critically important for Montana agriculture and provides the first step in opening up increased markets for our agricultural products.”

Charlie Bumgarner, President of the Montana Grain Growers Association: “Montana wheat and barley producers appreciate Senator Daines’ support for Trade Promotion Authority. Steve knows that TPA provisions will make sure any proposed trade agreement is given proper review by the public and by Congress before becoming law, allowing our farmers to continue leading Montana’s economy by providing high quality grain to our customers around the world.”

Gene Curry, President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association: “The expansion of global markets is paramount to the future of Montana’s dynamic cattle industry. Trade adds economic value to our product, which in turn drives profitability. Increasing market access and reducing or eliminating tariffs levels the playing field for U.S. beef exports and makes us more competitive in the global market, and TPA plays a large role in being able to achieve those objectives. For these reasons, the Montana Stockgrowers Association thanks Senator Steve Daines for his support of TPA and Montana’s ranchers.”

Webb Brown, President of the Montana Chamber of Commerce: “As the Montana Chamber of Commerce has long supported TPA, we thank Senator Daines for his support of this legislation. TPA would help bring new dollars to Montana by enabling the U.S. to conclude and implement comprehensive, market-opening trade agreements that will level the playing field abroad and strengthen the global competitiveness of businesses and manufacturers across Montana and the country.”

John W. Rauser, President of Montana Pork Producers Council: “Speaking on behalf of Montana Pork Producers Council and all of Montana’s pork producers, we fully support Trade Promotion Authority. We believe that TPA is needed to finalize free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This will boost U.S. pork exports and help pork producers’ bottom line.”

Bruce MacIntyre, Director of Business Advocacy & Government Affairs for the Billings Chamber of Commerce: “The Billings Chamber of Commerce is thankful for Senator Daines’ support for TPA. Exports and the ability to access foreign markets is essential for small businesses and companies in Billings and across Montana. TPA is an indispensable tool in the important effort to reduce barriers to trade abroad and ensure that Montana-made goods and services can reach consumers overseas.”

Bill Shropshire, CEO of American Chemet in East Helena, Montana: “American Chemet appreciates Steve Daines’s support of TPA, as we believe international trade is important to continued growth not only in the US, but all the international economies it impacts.”

Tom Spika, President of Spika Welding in Great Falls, Montana: “Anytime we can open up new markets to American goods, it’s a good thing. In America, we do certain things better than anyone else…we need to promote trade with the global economy & break down barriers to foreign markets. It’s frustrating to have a customer that wants what you have, but you can’t get it in there because of trade restrictions. I believe we can compete extremely well with high quality and innovative products. For Montana as a whole it would be good.”

Gary E. Dickerson, President and CEO of Applied Materials in Kalispell, Montana: “Trade promotion authority (TPA) will help open new markets for producers of Montana goods and services, and will help businesses such as Applied Materials continue our record of success as world leaders in our industry.”

Paddy Fleming, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center: “The TPA will continue to open up new and more attractive overseas markets. For Montana manufacturers, exporting is one of the greatest ways for them to grow their businesses and grow the number of high-paying manufacturing jobs in their hometowns.”