The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has a message for Congress: refuse Japan’s offer in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which seeks to protect key agricultural products from free trade.
“Japan continues to demand special treatment for many agricultural products, including pork. If this happens, U.S. pork producers would lose billions of dollars in pork exports,” The NPPC said in a recent newsletter. “Given that negotiations may soon end, it is vitally important that pork producers speak up loudly now and let Congress know that Japan’s current offer is unacceptable, and pork producers will not support a final TPP agreement that does not eliminate all tariffs and other forms of protection on pork.”
The group urges producers to call or email politicians, asking their elected leaders to “seek clear and unequivocal assurances from U.S. trade negotiators that the TPP negotiations will not close unless the Japanese agree to eliminate all barriers on U.S. pork and pork products.”
Japan is a key market of pork and other agricultural products. The U.S. exported 35,464 metric tons of pork to Japan in January, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
According to Capital Press, the country has insisted it will not accept free trade for products it considers “sensitive,” which includes beef, pork, wheat, barley, rice, starch, dairy and sugar. Other groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Cattleman’s Beef Association, are also urging the Obama administration and trade negotiators to reject Japan’s offer.
“Never, ever, has the United States permitted a trading partner to shield so many tariff lines from going to zero,” Nick Giordano, vice president and counsel for international affairs for the National Pork Producers Council, said during a press teleconference. “The number of tariff lines Japan seeks to exempt from tariff elimination exceeds by almost three times the total number of tariff lines exempted in all 17 U.S. free trade agreements combined implemented in this century.”
However, Giordano doesn’t believe the issues are unbeatable.
“The cost of dropping out from TPP is too high for Japan,” Giordano said. “The people of Japan are ready for agriculture reform.”