Agriculture groups call on Congress to support TPP

A group of 225 agricultural organizations and companies are expressing their strong support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and calling on Congress to pass TPP this year. The group says TPP will allow U.S. agriculture to be more competitive in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific market.

In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, the group says, “Exports are fundamental to the success of the agricultural industry because 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States and 20% of U.S. farm income is from exports.” The group reminded Congress that the longer the United States waits other countries will gain market share. They say, “If we do not lead, we will simply fall behind as our competitors aggressively work to establish alternative trade agreements that place their agricultural interests at an advantage.”

According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, “Delaying the launch of TPP by even a year would represent a $94 billion permanent loss, or opportunity cost, to the U.S. economy.”

The U.S. beef industry is already feeling the effects of TPP not being in place. With the Australia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in place, U.S. beef faces a tariff that is 11% higher than Australian beef. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association indicates that because of this advantage for Australia, it has allowed them to capture over $100 million in additional beef sales to Japan at the expense of U.S. producers.

The National Pork Producers Council says TPP could be the “biggest commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers.” The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates TPP would increase U.S. net farm income by $4.4 billion.

Those signing the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, CoBank, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Institute, U.S. Apple Association, U.S. Meat Export Federation and Wine Institute.

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