US - 225 food and agricultural companies and associations have sent a letter to members of Congress calling for a swift vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The TPP agreement covers around 40 per cent of the world's economy in 12 countries around the Pacific rim.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the US Dairy Export Council, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation all signed the letter urging congress to support TPP.
The dairy organisations said in a statement they had taken the decision to endorse the pact after months of deliberation, saying the agreement presents, on balance, a step forward for US dairy farmers and companies that process and market their milk.
They said the TPP represents a step forward on issues such as geographical indications and sanitary issues.
NCBA President Tracy Brunner said cattle producers cannot wait any longer to level the playing field.
“Japan is our largest export market and our Japanese customers demand high quality US beef,” said Brunner.
“However, due to the Australia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, US beef faces a tariff that is 11 per cent higher than Australian beef, our leading competitor.
"That tax alone makes our beef less competitive and gives Australia’s beef producers a significant advantage that has allowed them to capture over $100 million in additional beef sales at the expense of US producers.”
Upon implementation of TPP the tariff rate on US beef into will immediately drop from 38.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent. Moreover, that rate will continue to decrease over the following 16 years until it settles at 9 per cent.
“TPP is a great agreement for US beef producers and rural America,” said Brunner. “Trade supports US jobs, commodity prices, and the next generation of US beef producers. We are pleased to join with other food and agricultural groups in calling on Congress to pass TPP this Congressional session.”
However, the three dairy organisations said that the details of how the TPP is applied matters for farmers.
“The fine print in implementing TPP really matters. We are endorsing the outlines of the agreement, but will continue to insist that the terms agreed to need to be followed by the other countries in this agreement. The US needs to be continually vigilant with the TPP signatories and really hold their feet to the fire both now and down the road,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.
“The successful negotiation and implementation of ambitious trade agreements like TPP are vital to the future growth of America’s dairy industry,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO.
“For those benefits to be realised, however, it’s imperative that our trading partners be held accountable and live up to their current and future commitments.”
TheCattleSite News Desk