A bipartisan group of former Secretaries of Agriculture issued a letter urging Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The Secretaries said, “TPP, a high-standard, 12-country agreement, represents this nation’s ‘rebalance toward Asia,’ which fits American agriculture perfectly. That’s where populations are increasing, as is purchasing power, and that’s what dramatically enhances the demand for our food. We will in the future benefit significantly from increased access to those markets.”
In the letter the Secretaries emphasized the agreement sets the standard for other countries to meet who will want to join the TPP in the future. They said, “TPP is a 21st century agreement that sets enforceable ‘rules of the road’ for trade throughout the region, and with countries currently representing over 40% of the global economy. But it is also meant to be an open platform for other countries to potentially join, over time, if they are willing to meet the high standards set forth in the agreement, and if we and the other TPP members — and our own Congress — confirm they can meet that bar.”
The Secretaries reminded Congress that no trade agreement is perfect but we should never let perfection be the enemy of the good, and TPP is a “very good trade agreement.”
Those signing the letter were Secretary John Block (Ronald Reagan), Clayton Yeutter (George H.W. Bush), Mike Espy (Bill Clinton), Dan Glickman (Bill Clinton), Ann Veneman (George W. Bush), Mike Johanns (George W. Bush), and Ed Schafer (George W. Bush).
On a related note, President Obama and the leaders of the 11 other Trans-Pacific Partnership countries met last week during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Manila, Philippines.
This is the first time the TPP leaders have met since the TPP agreement was finalized last month. TPP represents 12 countries that cover nearly 40% of the global economy.