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Biden launches Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity

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Legislative Watch: IPEF to off-set influence of China; Senators want FTC to investigate beef packing; FMD, MAP increase exports; Dean nominated.

President Joe Biden this week officially launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. Besides the United States, the other countries involved are Japan, South Korea, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries represent 40% of the world's Gross Domestic Product.

The IPEF will focus on four pillars:

  1. Connected Economy - fair and resilient trade topics including the seven subtopics of labor, environment and climate, digital economy, agriculture, transparency and good regulatory practices, competition policy and trade facilitation.
  2. Resilient Economy - supply chain resilience topics.
  3. Clean Economy - infrastructure, clean energy and decarbonization topics.
  4. Fair Economy - tax and anti-corruption topics.

A question that many in agriculture are asking is, how will the IPEF provide greater market access for producers. The Farmers for Free Trade in a press release said, "The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is a laudable first step to reengaging in the region. It will be essential that the administration to articulate how an agreement that does not currently include tariff reduction will provide new market access and economic opportunities for farmers. As negotiations progress, we encourage the administration to speak directly to farmers, food producers and rural Americans about how IPEF can directly benefit them."

U.S. agriculture is finding that it is at a growing disadvantage ever since President Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

The IPEF is to off-set the influence of China in the region.

Senators want FTC to investigate beef packing industry
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate anticompetitive practices and violations of antitrust laws in the beef packing industry. 

Senator Warren said in a press release, "Only four billionaire corporations control 85% of the market for beef — and these giant corporations have been using their market power to raise prices for consumers and have reduced pay for ranchers, farmers and plant workers, all while padding their bottom lines. It's time for Congress to get back in the game and use every tool to promote competition in our markets so we can lower costs for families."

Rounds said, "For the past two years, I have been calling on the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of price-fixing, collusion and other unfair practices in the beef packing industry. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice has seemingly not made these concerns a priority and both consumers and cattle producers in South Dakota continue to suffer as a result."

The Senate joint resolution directs the FTC to report to Congress within a year on:

  • the extent of anticompetitive practices and violations of antitrust law in the beef-packing industry, including price fixing, anticompetitive acquisitions, dominance of supply chains and monopolization. 
  • the monetary and other harms of anticompetitive practices and violations of antitrust law in the beef-packing industry on consumers, ranchers, farmers, plant workers and small businesses.
  • recommendations for legislation or other remedial actions.

Export promotion programs increase exports
The USDA's Foreign Market Development Program and the Market Access Program increased agricultural exports by an average of $9.6 billion every year from 1977 to 2019 according to a new study by the U.S. Grains Council. 

The study found these programs increased agricultural export revenues by 13.7% annually, and there was a return of $24.50 for every dollar invested in FMD and MAP.

According to the study, FMD and MAP also:

  • Increased farm cash receipts by $12.2 billion (3.4%).
  • Benefited the overall economy with additional $45 billion annually in economic output and $22.3 billion annually in gross domestic product.
  • Created an estimated 225,800 jobs across the economy.

The study was done by IHS Market in cooperation with Gary Williams and Oral Capps at Texas A&M University.

Dean nominated to be Under Secretary of Food and Nutrition
Tracy Dean has been nominated to be the USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. Dean currently serves as the Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.  Previously, she served as Vice President for Food Assistance Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

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