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Obama Administration Welcomes Japan into TPP Talks

16 April 2013

US - The National Pork Producers Council has praised the Obama administration for agreeing to accept Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam, which account for a combined 30 per cent of global GDP. Japan already has free trade agreements with seven of the 11 TPP countries: Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam.

"The addition of Japan to the negotiations will exponentially increase the importance of the TPP to pork producers and to other sectors of the US economy," said NPPC President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minnesota. "Japan’s entry into the trade talks will spur interest in the TPP among other countries in Asia and Latin America, and it will signal to other nations that efforts to negotiate more open and transparent trading arrangements will continue, even as multilateral efforts to do so are stymied."

Japan’s economy is second only to China’s in the region, and it is the fourth largest US agricultural export market overall. US food and agricultural exports to Japan in 2012 totaled $13.5 billion. Japan is the top value export market for US pork, accounting for almost $2 billion in 2012 sales.

"With Japan in it, TPP is the single most important trade negotiation ever for US pork and many other US agricultural products," Mr Spronk said. "We estimate that a South Korea-Colombia-type outcome for US pork in the TPP negotiation – meaning the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers – will create 27,000 direct and indirect pork industry jobs in the United States.

"We look forward to working closely with the Obama administration and Congress to fashion an agreement that US pork producers can strongly endorse," added Mr Spronk.

Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation said: "The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased with the decision of the US to approve the addition of Japan as a negotiating partner in the Trans Pacific Partnership. As a major US trading partner, Japan would bolster the reach of the TPP for US agriculture.

"As the fourth-largest US agricultural export market, with nearly $14 billion in purchases in 2012, trade with Japan is important to America’s farmers and ranchers. Both the United States and Japan will benefit from Japan being a TPP partner, and by sharing in improved sanitary and phytosanitary standards for agricultural trade and expanded market access with TPP nations.

"The recent decision by Japan to increase access for US beef shows that Japan can act to improve market access for US agricultural products based on sound science. A comprehensive TPP agreement that includes Japan will strengthen trade relationships, address remaining barriers and improve the competitiveness of the Asia/Pacific market."

TheCattleSite News Desk

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