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Japan and Canada Must Drop Ag Tariffs

In a letter to the White House, 140 Congressmen are urging the Obama administration to pursue a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement without countries that prove unwilling to fully open their markets to all U.S. agricultural products. The members indicated that Congressional support for the TPP would be jeopardized if U.S. negotiators accept anything less than elimination of all trade barriers to U.S. agricultural goods.

The letter specifically named Japan and Canada by stating, “Indeed, we urge you to pursue the TPP negotiations without any country, including Japan, Canada, or others, that prove unwilling to open its market in accordance with these high standards.”

The members cited Japan’s current offer of demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination for certain “sensitive” products (pork, beef, rice, wheat and dairy). The members said, “If accepted, this unprecedented and objectionable offer would significantly limit access for U.S. farmers and ranchers to the Japanese market and, most likely, to other TPP countries as well.”

Canada was also cited as presenting a “less-than-ambitious” offer. House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman David Nunes (R-CA) and Ranking Member Charlie Rangel (D-NY) organized the letter. The TPP negotiations include the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. 

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