US Ag Organisations Get Behind Trans Pacific Partnership

US - The US has released the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, in the first step towards getting the deal pushed through Congress.
calendar icon 6 November 2015
clock icon 4 minute read

The TPP was finally agreed last month after years of negotiations, and covers 40 per cent of the world's economy around the Pacific rim.

As well as the US, the countries in the deal are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Viet Nam.

The release of the text marks the start of a public review process of the deal.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: "The release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an important step forward in the process to make this landmark agreement for US agriculture a reality.

"The text confirms that this agreement provides new market access across the board for America's farmers and ranchers by lowering tariffs and eliminating other barriers, and will boost exports and support jobs in our rural economies.

"While the release of the text is a critical benchmark, there is still much work to be done. We look forward to a discussion across the country about the details of this agreement."

Cattlemen pleased with Japanese beef tariff reductions

“The TPP represents the highest standard of trade agreements and provides the foundation for increased access and lower tariffs to the Pacific Rim markets," said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and cattleman Philip Ellis.

"TPP member nations already account for over 60 per cent of total beef exports, and lower tariffs will allow us to continue to grow our market share in that region.

“While the agreement is not perfect, it is a vast improvement over the current tariff rates, and the greatest market access that has ever been negotiated to Japan. Clearly, working collaboratively we were able to achieve more than we could have alone.

"The TPP will immediately reduce the tariff to Japan, our largest market for US beef, from 38.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent. And tariffs will continue to decrease, in some cases be eliminated, over the next 15 years."

Increased pork exports could create thousands of new jobs

After reviewing the text of the TPP agreement, the National Pork Producers Council, expressed unequivocal support for the deal and called on Congress to expeditiously pass the agreement.

“Past US free trade agreements (FTAs) have demonstrated the importance to our industry of opening international markets,” said NPPC President Dr Ron Prestage.

“TPP will provide benefits to our producers that dramatically exceed those of prior trade agreements. I assure you that pork producers across this great nation will do whatever it takes to get TPP passed by Congress and implemented.”

Previous agreements have increased US pork exports by 1550 per cent in value and almost 1300 per cent in volume since 1989 - the year the United States began using bilateral and regional trade agreements to open foreign markets - and now are valued at nearly $6.7 billion, the NPPC said.

“The United States now exports more pork to its 20 FTA partners than to the rest of the world combined,” Prestage said.

“Free trade agreements work,” he stressed, “not just for pork producers and US agriculture but for the entire US economy. As a nation, we export almost as much to our FTA partners as we do to the rest of the world combined."

Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, who said a final TPP agreement would be “the most important commercial opportunity ever for US pork producers,” estimates the TPP will exponentially increase US pork exports and help create more than 10,000 US jobs tied to those exports.

“Without the TPP agreement, US pork exports to the Pacific Rim region would be at a serious competitive disadvantage,” said Dr Prestage.

“Competitors such as the European Union, which are negotiating FTAs with countries in the region, will leap at the opportunity to fill the void that congressional delay would create. It is important that Congress act swiftly so that we don’t fall behind.”

Poultry exports to Viet Nam, Japan and Canada set to benefit

“The National Chicken Council (NCC) applauds US Trade Representative Michael Froman and his team of negotiators for their years of work on the TPP, and urge expeditious congressional approval,” said NCC President Mike Brown.

“The TPP represents a commercially meaningful and high standard agreement that will open markets and increase US chicken exports and bring increased economic benefits to chicken farmers and companies across the country. Without it, US chicken exports to the TPP region will face a significant competitive disadvantage.”

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) President, Jim Sumner, added: “With Canada, Viet Nam and Japan already some of our most important markets, this should provide a great opportunity to expand US poultry exports. Our industry is most appreciative of the emphasis given to all of our products during the lengthy negotiation process by the USTR team.”

Mr Sumner was referring to the agreements laid out in the TPP to eliminate tariffs on poultry products sent from the US to Viet Nam and Japan, as well as new tariff-rate quotas on products sent to Canada.

The NCC and USAPEEC also welcomed a sanitary and phytosanitary measures section, meant to prevent countries from using standards for food safety and animal and plant health as trade barriers, saying that they had long been advocates of achieving a strong commitment on enforcement in this area.

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