Industry advocates for exports with TPP policy change

by Erica Shaffer
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Foreign trade has been a success for meat and poultry producers, stakeholders said.
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in favor of bilateral trade agreements has many stakeholders in the agriculture industry concerned but willing to work with the new administration on trade pacts that will keep US-made agriculture products competitive in global markets.

President Trump signed an executive order Jan. 23 withdrawing the US from the TPP agreement, which was signed by President Barack Obama and the leaders of 11 other Pacific Rim nations. Stakeholders in the agriculture community had been supportive of the agreement, citing the benefits of exports and lower trade barriers for US agriculture products.

“As a global food and agriculture company and a significant American manufacturer that depends on both exports and imports to remain competitive, we continue to advocate for open markets for the benefit of our employees, farmers and consumers,” Minneapolis-based Cargill said in a statement. “Cargill advocated for TPP and NAFTA and we are committed to working with the Trump Administration on inclusive trade policies that allow our economy to grow, our citizens to prosper and America to remain competitive.”

Tyson Foods Inc. declined to comment on the US withdrawal from TPP. Smithfield Foods did not respond to requests for comment.

The National Chicken Council noted that for the poultry industry, trade and expanding access to foreign markets are critically important. The industry exports nearly 20 percent of poultry production to more than 100 countries. In 2016 exports totaled about $3 billion.

“We look forward to working with the president and his administration on free and fair trade, tearing down barriers for chicken and gaining more access to world markets,” NCC said in a statement.

TPP is a regional trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement provides a foundation for trade expansion because it includes the prospect of adding other countries in the future, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand — all of which have expressed interest in joining the trade bloc.

“TPP and NAFTA have long been convenient political punching bags, but the reality is that foreign trade has been one of the greatest success stories in the long history of the US beef industry,” Tracy Brunner, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said in a statement.

“…The fact remains that 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and expanding access to those consumers is the single best thing we can do to help American cattle-producing families be more successful.”

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