WASHINGTON— The US International Trade Commission’s (USITC) report regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a positive and necessary development for meat and poultry processors, according to a statement from the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

“The USITC’s report underscores the critical importance of TPP to the long-term economic stability and viability of the US meat and poultry industry,” said NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter. “By facilitating trade and investment, as well as reducing or eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers on US meat, poultry, and animal products in the Asia-Pacific region, TPP will yield greater value for US companies and products, will support high-paying American jobs and will enhance the competitiveness of the US industry in foreign markets.”

In 2015, 10 percent of US beef production, 20 percent of pork production and 16 percent of poultry production was exported to foreign markets, according to USDA. 

A NAMI release pointed out that the US meat poultry competiveness will go down with the TPP, however it should benefit the high-tariff, high-demand markets, like Japan and Vietnam in Asia.

Under the agreement, Japan will reduce import tariffs on major cuts of fresh and frozen US beef to nine percent over 15 years after the entry-into-force date. It will be down from the current level of 38.5 percent.  Also, tariffs on US pork exports to Japan, which are as high as 20 percent, will be phased out over some years. 

“TPP will strengthen our strategic relationships with trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region, while promoting transparency, driving innovation and supporting robust labor standards,” Carpenter said.  “This trade agreement bolsters US leadership in an important economic and geopolitical arena, and provides American businesses with greater confidence and certainty in the international marketplace.” 

Carpenter added. “USITC’s report reveals that the US cannot sit idly by while other TPP countries negotiate bilateral and regional free trade agreements that would place American exports, including meat and poultry exports, at a competitive disadvantage. “Failure to ratify TPP will result in lost market share for US meat exports, and undermines the long-term position of the US meat and poultry industry, which relies on identifying new markets and consumers.” 

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 also provides a foundation for trade expansion worldwide as 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.