The U.S. pork industry must continue to grow its exports and do so through free trade agreements such as the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, which would eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. products, the National Pork Producers Council reiterated today in congressional testimony.
NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa, told the House Committee on Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee that the 12-nation TPP would open and expand to exports of U.S. pork markets that include nearly half a billion consumers and help create more than 10,000 U.S. jobs tied to those pork exports.
“TPP is the biggest commercial opportunity ever for the U.S. pork industry,” said Weber, “and NPPC strongly supports its passage and implementation.”
The TPP, negotiations on which were initiated in late 2008 and concluded last October, is a regional trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.
Weber pointed out to panel members that the TPP has become the de facto global trade vehicle, with other countries in the region already asking to join it, and would set the new international trade rules and the bar for future trade agreements, including the deal now being negotiated between the United States and the European Union – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
He expressed concerns about the United States rejecting the TPP Agreement, pointing out that other countries are negotiating free trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region without the United States, including the China-led, 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
“We cannot afford either economically or geopolitically to walk away from the fastest growing region in the world,” Weber said. “If we do turn our backs on that region, some other country … will write the rules for global trade, and the United States not only won’t realize the benefits of TPP, it will lose market share in those 11 countries as other nations negotiate free trade agreements with them.
“Congress must pass TPP, and it must do so soon.”
On the TTIP, Weber told the subcommittee that U.S. pork producers’ support for a final agreement is conditioned on the EU eliminating all tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork, an outcome achieved in every other U.S. free trade agreement.