October 8, 2015

Audio – The Sales Pitch for TPP

The President traveled to USDA headquarters on Tuesday to accompany Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack in a meeting with private business folks to deliver a sales pitch in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

On a press call Tuesday afternoon, Vilsack talked about the potential boost in agriculture exports that will develop thanks to lower tariffs on a broad array of items.

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Beyond tariffs, the agreement also addresses sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to U.S. products that may not be based on sound science.

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Several agricultural groups have praised negotiators for finalizing the deal, but many are waiting to analyze and understand the full details before declaring outright support.

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One of the biggest obstacles during negotiations was market access for U.S. dairy products into Canada and Japan.

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According to some early reports, the deal could allow more U.S. dairy product imports into Canada that will equal about 3.25% of the Canadian milk supply.

Congress is expected to get the legal documents for the deal sometime this week, and then lawmakers will have 30 days to review them before the agreement is made public.

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The next step will be a full economic review of the deal by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The agency has up to 105 days to complete that work.

Given the timeline and the building election season in the U.S., some pundits don’t expect a Congressional vote on the deal until after the elections in the lame duck session of Congress.

One of the quickest criticisms of the trade deal after it was announced was the absence of language addressing currency manipulation.


Reaction on Trans-Pacific Partnership

The National Pork Producers Council expressed confidence that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiators concluded in Atlanta will benefit all sectors of the U.S. economy and will provide enormous new market opportunities for high-quality American pork products.

The TPP, initiated in late 2008, 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.

“NPPC played an active role throughout the five-plus years of negotiations,” said association President Dr. Ron Prestage, “providing U.S. negotiators with key information on barriers we face in the 11 other TPP countries and offering guidance on outcomes that would ensure substantial new market access benefits for U.S. pork in those markets.”

Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, who said a final TPP agreement could be “the most important commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers,” estimated that a good outcome for pork in the trade pact could increase U.S. pork exports over time exponentially and help create more than 10,000 U.S. jobs tied to those exports. Last year, the U.S. pork industry shipped about $4.5 billion of products to the 11 TPP nations.

U.S. trade analysts concluded that a TPP agreement that achieves the goals set by Congress and the Obama administration should help level the playing field for U.S. exports in a region that is the fastest growing in the world but where tariff and non-tariff barriers on U.S. goods are significant. It also should ensure that U.S. products are competitive in the region vis-à-vis products from non-TPP countries.

Past U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs), which have substantially reduced or eliminated trade barriers, demonstrate the importance to the U.S. pork industry of opening foreign markets, Prestage pointed out. Those deals have increased U.S. pork exports by 1,550 percent in value and 1,268 percent in volume since 1989 – the year the United States began using bilateral and regional trade agreements to open foreign markets – and now are valued at nearly $6.7 billion.

Last year, exports represented more than a quarter of total U.S. pork production and added more than $62 to the price pork producers received for each hog marketed. They also helped generate an estimated 110,000 pork-related U.S. jobs. The United States now exports more pork to its 20 FTA partners than to the rest of the world combined.

“We look forward to reviewing the full text of the TPP agreement and the schedules of market access concessions as soon as possible,” said Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “We are reserving final judgment on the package until then.”

While the recently concluded agreement should be a boon to U.S. exporters to the region, the TPP has the potential to provide even greater trade benefits if and when it is opened to additional countries, such as The Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, all of which have expressed interest in joining the Pacific Rim trade bloc.


The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council noted the conclusion today of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and thanked the U.S. negotiators for their work. NMPF and USDEC leadership and staff have attended the talks in Atlanta, which kicked off with a chief negotiators meeting on September 26 before shifting into a Ministerial on September 30. Both organizations have been providing input and guidance to negotiators throughout the duration of the regional trade pact.

The organizations expressed deep appreciation to the numerous members of Congress who have conveyed the importance of a successful dairy market access outcome during the years of negotiation, but in particular, during the closing negotiations.


International Crop Sampling Delegation to Visit NoDak

The North Dakota Soybean Council will be hosting an international soybean crop sampling delegation from China and Indonesia on Sunday, September 27, 2015. image002

The guests will tour the Alton Grain Terminal, Columbia Grain Elevator, and area soybean farms.  North Dakota Soybean Council staff will be accompanying the tour to answer questions for the international guests and promote soybeans grown in the state throughout the day.


The purpose of the delegation’s visit is to build relationships between North Dakota soybean producers and international customers; to discuss with them the quality of soybeans being harvested for our 2015 season in North Dakota; and allow them to take samples of North Dakota soybeans to test moisture, essential amino acids, protein, and oil.  These samples allow the major feed and food buyers for these countries to see exactly what they are buying; an abundant, secure, safe, clean and quality product for their families, companies and fellow consumers.