On Monday, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined 225 other agricultural and food organizations in expressing support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and in urging congressional lawmakers to back the deal.

The TPP, negotiations on which concluded last October, 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.

“If faithfully implemented, TPP will help level the playing field for U.S. exports and create new opportunities for us in the highly competitive Asia-Pacific region,” said the agricultural and food groups in a letter to Senate and House leaders.

NPPC believes the deal could be the “biggest commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers.” Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes estimates the agreement will exponentially increase U.S. pork exports to Pacific Rim countries and help create more than 10,000 U.S. jobs tied to those exports.

“While U.S. pork producers support the TPP, it is imperative to make sure other countries do not artificially stimulate pork production through support programs in a way that will undermine the concessions they made in the TPP negotiations,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “We appreciate the strong support we are receiving from both the Obama administration and Congress to ensure that U.S. pork producers receive the full benefit of the TPP deal. There are still some critically important issues that need to be worked through, but I’m confident they will be resolved well before Congress votes on the deal.”

In addition to removing export barriers, the TPP agreement includes high-standard rules that will encourage market-driven and science-based terms of trade that will help the U.S. food and agriculture industry compete in the Asia-Pacific region, the agricultural and food groups pointed out in their letter.

[Click here to read the letter.]