WASHINGTON, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council today applauded the introduction of a bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill in the U.S. Senate, calling the legislation, “key to opening foreign markets to American spirits products.”

“This bill sends a signal to the rest of the world that the United States is serious about concluding important trade negotiations,” said Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO Peter H. Cressy, whose membership includes both large and small distilled spirits companies that export their products to over 130 countries.

The legislation, (The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015), ensures Congressional input and oversight in terms of the United States’ trade priorities.  With TPA, the President can negotiate with a unified U.S. voice, ensuring that the Administration can secure the best possible agreements for American industry, agriculture, and workers. Congress retains the authority to approve or disapprove the final agreement.

Cressy noted that TPA legislation comes at a critical time, as the U.S. prepares to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations with 11 trading partners.  “Trade promotion authority is crucial to completing market-opening agreements, such as TPP, which will benefit U.S. spirits exporters of all sizes and support U.S. jobs across the country,” Cressy said.

Past efforts by the United States to open foreign markets have contributed to the impressive gains the U.S. industry has made, and continues to make, in expanding U.S. spirits exports. Global U.S. spirits exports have nearly tripled over the past decade, reaching over $1.5 billion in 2014.  Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey accounted for just over $1 billion of the total.

Cressy emphasized that expanding exports has become increasingly important to the U.S. distilled spirits industry.  “The ability of the U.S. to conclude high standard, comprehensive and trade liberalizing agreements will help to ensure the long term success for the industry.  It is crucial that Congress pass TPA legislation without delay,” Cressy concluded.