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US Pork Producers Back Trans-Pacific Partnership

29 January 2015

US - The US National Pork Producers Council has thrown its support behind renewal of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will enable the current administration and future ones to negotiate and close trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which is at present hanging in the balance.

“The US pork industry is the poster child for expanded trade,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa.

“As a result of trade agreements, our exports have increased 1550 per cent in value and 1268 per cent in volume since 1989, the year the US implemented the FTA with Canada and started opening international markets for value-added agriculture products. Pork producers and US agriculture are dependent on export markets, so NPPC is going to fight tooth and nail to get TPA passed.”

NPPC sent a letter to every member of Congress, urging passage of legislation to renew TPA. (Click here to read the letter.)

TPA defines US negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the president to follow throughout the negotiation process. Once negotiators finalise a deal, Congress gets an up or down vote – without amendments – on it. Congress has granted TPA to every president since 1974, with the most recent law being approved in August 2002 and expiring June 30, 2007.

While TPA will empower US trade officials to pursue and finalise a number of different trade negotiations, TPP is paramount for US pork producers.

The benefits from TPP are expected to far exceed the benefits that have resulted from past trade deals and will represent, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, “the most important commercial opportunity ever for US pork producers.”

Negotiations on TPP, which includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam, are drawing to a conclusion, with the latest round of talks beginning today.

“Significant progress has been made with respect to Japan’s market access offer on pork thanks to the hard work of US trade officials and the strong support of the US Congress,” said NPPC’s Hill.

“While NPPC is reserving judgment on a final TPP agreement, we believe it is imperative that Congress approve TPA as a signal to our trading partners that the US is ready to finalise an agreement that expands US trade and generates US jobs.”

Commenting on the efforts of the National Pork Producers Council, US Secretary Vilsack commented: "It is no surprise that agricultural producers are joining the chorus of voices calling on Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority.

"The past six years were the strongest period for agricultural exports in the history of our nation, despite the fact that many other countries' markets are not as open to American products as our markets are to theirs. New trade agreements that help level the playing field for agriculture will build on the success we've seen in the agricultural economy since 2009 and help producers create more new jobs across the country. What makes the agricultural economy stronger makes our entire nation's economy stronger. It is imperative that Congress act on Trade Promotion Authority early this year."

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