Weekly Overview: Mixed Response From Agricultural Industry as US Withdraws from Trans-Pacific Partnership

US - The big news this past week has been the action of the US President Donald Trump, to sign an executive action to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
calendar icon 30 January 2017
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The move by Mr Trump has sparked mixed reactions from the agricultural industry.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) applauded the President's decision to withdraw the US from, what it calls, a deeply flawed TPP trade agreement.

NFU President Roger Johnson commented: “For too long, our nation’s trade negotiators have prioritised a free trade over fair trade agenda, leading to a massive $531 billion trade deficit, lost jobs and lowered wages in rural communities across America. It’s time our country refocuses the trade agenda to prioritise balanced trade, US sovereignty, and US family farmers, ranchers and rural communities. The Trump Administration should look to do so with a level of tact that does not motivate our trade partners to take retaliatory actions or threaten the integrity of positive trade markets that American agriculture relies upon."

However, other agricultural organisations have expressed concern over the withdrawal. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) said it is extremely disappointed with President Trump's executive action.

"TPP, and agreements like it, are key to setting the terms and rules for future trade relationships, creating higher standards and expectations than previous trade deals. While the US economy generally deals with a trade deficit, agriculture is the one segment where our country enjoys a strong trade surplus," said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall also issued a similar response. “While President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing our nation from the Trans- Pacific Partnership, we viewed TPP as a positive agreement for agriculture – one that would have added $4.4 billion annually to our struggling agriculture economy. With this decision, it is critical that the new administration begin work immediately to do all it can to develop new markets for US agricultural goods and to protect and advance US agricultural interests in the critical Asia-Pacific region," said Mr Duvall.

The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO, Philip Seng issued the following statement in response to Mr Trump's action: "The USMEF remains fully committed to our valued trading partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These countries account for more than 60 per cent of US red meat exports.

"In some of these key markets, the US red meat industry will remain at a serious competitive disadvantage unless meaningful market access gains are realised. We urge the new administration to utilise all means available to return the United States to a competitive position, so that our industry can continue to serve this important international customer base and further expand our export opportunities."

Similarly, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said it is committed to working with the Trump administration to preserve tariff-free market access for US pork exports to Canada and Mexico.

“As far a pork is concerned, the trade deals with Canada and Mexico have been tremendous for US pork producers,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa.

“Our exports to those nations exploded because of the trade pact we have with them. But we know that some concerns have been raised by others, so we are committed to working with the Trump administration in looking for ways to improve our trade relationships with Canada and Mexico.”

“Trade in pork with Canada and Mexico has been so successful that any disruption in exports with either partner could hurt our producers’ ability to compete,” Weber said.

“We need to make sure we maintain and even improve our pork exports to our neighbors while working to ensure that others benefit as much as we do.”

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