Cattlemen praise positive outcome to US trade talks

Clinching the TPP terms paves the way for the US to tackle the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership with the EU

The successful conclusion to Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, which focused on removing trade barriers between the US and several Pacific Rim countries, has been welcomed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

Philip Ellis, NCBA president and cattleman in Chugwater, Wyoming, said the agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam would boost US exports.

“While the full details of the partnership will not be released until the president presents it to congress, cattle producers are assured this is a true 21st century agreement,” said Ellis.

“The TPP will immediately reduce tariffs and level the playing field for US beef exports to these growing markets. TPP is a major win not only for the beef industry, but for all US export products, growing the economy while supporting jobs and investments in agriculture and technology.”

Beef exports

According to the NCBA, beef exports add more than $350 to each head of cattle sold in the US. With the completion of the TPP negotiations work, NCBA said it looked forward to increased demand and growth for beef exports across the Pacific Rim.

Through the partnership process with the 11 other nations involved in the discussions, beef producers secured the best deal possible to address tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to beef exports, the NCBA said.

Commenting on the outcome, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: “An agreement on the TPP negotiations provides a more level playing field in trade for American farmers.

“The agreement would eliminate or significantly reduce tariffs on our products and deter non-science based sanitary and phytosanitary barriers that have put American agriculture at a disadvantage in TPP countries in the past.

“Despite these past barriers, countries in the TPP account for up to 42% of US agricultural exports, totaling $63bn. Thanks to this agreement and its removal of unfair trade barriers, American agricultural exports to the region will expand even further, particularly exports of meat, poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, oilseeds, cotton and processed products.”

Boost farm income

Increased demand for US agricultural products and expanded agricultural exports as a result of this agreement would support stronger commodity prices and boost farm income, said Vilsack.

“Increased exports under TPP will create more good paying export-related jobs, further strengthening the rural economy. Today, agricultural trade supports more than one million jobs here at home and contributes a trade surplus year after year to our nation’s economy.

“All of this activity benefits rural communities and keeps American agriculture on the cutting edge of global commerce. The TPP agreement will contribute to the future strength of American agriculture and helps to ensure that the historic agricultural trade gains achieved under president Obama since 2009 will continue.”

“Failing to grasp this opportunity would be a mistake: worse than just losing out on potential gains, our producers would fall behind other countries that are negotiating their own preferential arrangements in TPP countries.

“We are committed to working with congress within the framework of the recently-passed Trade Promotion Authority to obtain a strong bipartisan understanding of and support for this historic trade deal that benefits farmers, ranchers, and all those who live, work and raise families in rural communities.”

Clinching the terms of the TPP now allows the US to turn its attention to a similar Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership with the EU, which has sparked strong debate.

A spokeswoman for FoodDrinkEurope said: “As a rule of thumb, we favour multilateral trade agreements, since we firmly believe that they benefit companies and consumers, offering a broader range of products at a more affordable price. We also believe that they are essential to the economy generally speaking, and particularly beneficial to jobs. We hope that the conclusion of the TPP will pave the way for the conclusion of the TTIP with the EU.

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