Thursday, January 05, 2017

American agriculture stands to lose big if Trans-Pacific Partnership is scuttled, as Trump plans to do

Agriculture could be the big loser if President-elect Donald Trump withdraws the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Adam Allington reports for Marketplace. Trump has called TPP a "disaster" and has said "the U.S. will withdraw from TPP in favor of bilateral trade agreements."

TPP—which includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam—was signed last year to write the rules for global trade, says the Office of the United States Trade Representative. It was designed to "increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs and strengthen the American middle class."

TPP, which would have covered nearly 40 percent of the global economy, would have been big for U.S. agriculture, "particularly for exports to Japan, the world’s third largest economy," Allington writes. TPP’s failure could "mean U.S. exports will miss out on preferred access to countries, such as India, China and Japan." (Thomson Reuters map)
Jason Hafemeister, Associate Administrator of USDA’s foreign agricultural service, said "TPP would have cut tariffs across a range of products—from beef to wine," Allington writes. "Without it, those tariffs remain, and the door’s left open for China to increase its influence."

"China is making headway in its own bid to establish a rival regional free-trade deal, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (R-CEP)," Allington writes. "R-CEP is already under consideration by 16 countries in the Pacific region," including all the Asian and Australian/Oceania countries in TPP."

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