New White House Trade Authority Will Boost Houston Region Economy

Tuesday, October 16, 2001
Newly introduced legislation to expand the President's authority in trade negotiations will be a boost to the Houston region's economy, according to several Southeast Texas business leaders. "The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill introduced in the House two weeks ago will allow the administration to fairly negotiate trade agreements and other related issues with foreign countries, especially multilateral treaties," said Port of Houston Authority Chairman James T. Edmonds. Implementation of TPA is expected to spur progress on the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement, opening markets in Central and South America to U.S. goods and services. Houston's current number-one trading partner is Mexico, with $5.5 billion in annual trade volume, and two South American countries are number-two and number-four, Venezuela ($3.2 billion) and Brazil ($2.1 billion). TPA approval will benefit Texas' farmers and growers, according to Texas Farm Bureau President Steve Pringle. "Exports are the lifeblood of American agriculture," he said. "We may lose our existing share of foreign markets to other competitors if we are not an active player in new trade agreements."

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