USGC: Trade ministers' approval of TPP win for US farmers

By Staff Report | October 05, 2015

Trade ministers from 12 countries across the world approved the Trans-Pacific Partnership early this week.  

The U.S. Grains Council praised the successful completion of the talks, noting that the organization was pleased to hear of the overall agreement coming out of the TTP negotiations, which were held in Atlanta.

"Open, liberalized trade of goods and services is vital to the prosperity of the United States, including U.S. agriculture, and our trading partners around the world,” the council said in a news release. “We fundamentally believe that reducing the range of barriers to open trade will benefit not just the grain industry that we represent, but also the overseas customers that we have sought to serve for more than 50 years.

"Our priorities in these talks have been focused on the broad goal of securing increased market access for U.S. grains and ethanol and ensuring that existing access remains open. That means lasting tariff relief, sanitary and phytosanitary provisions that will reduce the impact of non-tariff barriers, and meaningful global progress on the synchronous approval of biotech events. 

"In 2014, the United States exported more than $6 billion in corn and corn coproducts to the TPP region out of a world total of $11.4 billion. A TPP agreement is expected to increase the output of all grain exports from the United States by 11 percent. 

"With these facts in mind, we look forward to working with our partners to evaluate the agreement produced by the negotiators, provide our best judgment on its merits and explain its benefits to our members that will inspire their support for the ratification process. As we dig into the details of the agreement for grains and ethanol, we do so with expectation about the huge potential of markets that offer 800 million customers with a combined GDP of $28 trillion."

Pres. Barack Obama, who has supported the agreement, said in a prepared statement that the agreement levels the playing field for farmers, ranchers and manufacturers by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes put on U.S. products by various countries. 

“It includes the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history, and those commitments are enforceable,” Obama said. Meanwhile, the agreement promotes a free and open Internet and strengthens the U.S.’s strategic relationships with its partners and allies in a region that will be vital to the 21st century, he said.

After negotiators have finalized the end of the partnership, Congress and the American people will have months to read it before he signs it, Obama said. He looks forward to working with Democratic and Republican lawmakers as they consider the TTP agreement, Obama said.

“If we can get this agreement to my desk, then we can help out our businesses sell more Made in America goods and services around the world and we can help more American workers compete and win.