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Meat and poultry industry groups are urging quick passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

WASHINGTON – The full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was released Oct. 5, revealing details of a free trade agreement the meat and poultry industry has supported.

Parties to the TPP — Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam — have made commitments to support the growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises; promote environmental protections; enforce labor rights and improve working conditions; among other things.

Ambassador Michael Froman, US Trade Representative, said the TPP will enhance America’s competitive position in the global economy. 

Ambassador Michael Froman
Ambassador Michael Froman

“This is the first trade agreement to put a real focus on American small businesses who will gain powerful tools to help them export,” Froman said in a statement. “This is the first trade agreement to put disciplines on state-owned enterprises to make sure that when they compete against our private firms, there’s a level playing field. And this is the first trade agreement to take on the digital economy, ensuring that individual and businesses in America and around the world will benefit from the expanding opportunities offered by a free and open Internet.”

Stakeholders in the meat and poultry industry support the TPP, and are urging US lawmakers to pass the agreement soon.

“This agreement holds enormous potential for US agriculture and levels the playing field for American workers and businesses in the world's fastest growing economic region,” said Barry Carpenter, president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute. “In addition, TPP will strengthen our strategic relationships with trading partners in the critical Asia-Pacific region.”

The National Chicken Council highlighted several provisions of the TPP that are of special importance to US broiler producers. For example, Japan’s current 8.5 percent tariff on frozen poultry legs will eliminated within 11 years; while tariffs on fresh and frozen cuts that can run as high as 11.9 percent will be eliminated in six to 11 years. The US is the dominant supplier of frozen poultry leg exports to Japan with a 95 percent market share valued at $41 million in 2014.

Also important to the meat and poultry industry are sanitary and phytosanitary measures in the TPP meant to prevent countries from using standards for food safety and animal and plant health as trade barriers.

“The TPP represents a commercially meaningful and high standard agreement that will open markets and increase US chicken exports and bring increased economic benefits to chicken farmers and companies across the country,” said Mike Brown, NCC president. “Without it, US chicken exports to the TPP region will face a significant competitive disadvantage.”

The TPP also represents opportunities for meat and poultry producers to expand to other markets, because the agreement includes a provision to add other countries in the future.

“With Canada, Vietnam and Japan already some of our most important markets, this should provide a great opportunity to expand US poultry exports,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. “Our industry is most appreciative of the emphasis given to all of our products during the lengthy negotiation process by the USTR team.”

“By facilitating trade and investment, as well as reducing or eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers in the new trading block, the deal will enhance our competitiveness and support high-paying American jobs,” Carpenter said. “At the same time, we will be promoting transparency, driving innovation and supporting robust labor standards.”