The U.S. House may vote on the Peru Trade Pact the week of Nov. 5, and with that in mind the Agriculture Coalition for Latin American Trade, which includes 50 food and agricultural organizations, including the National Pork Producers Council, today urged Congress to approve the trade agreement.

In a letter (below) sent today to every lawmaker, the coalition asked Congress to “provide U.S. food and agriculture the same trade benefits that it already has extended to farmers and ranchers in Peru” under the Andean Trade Preferences Act. That trade law gives most products from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru duty-free access into the United States.

The House is expected to take up the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement after voting on legislation to expand the 1974 Trade Act’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which helps U.S. workers who are hurt or displaced because of increased imports.

The Peru agreement is expected to be the first of four pending free trade pacts to see congressional action. Free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea also are pending in Congress.


The Letter:

Dear Member of Congress: 

The 50 undersigned organizations, representing U.S. farmers, ranchers, meat processors, food producers and exporters, urge you to approve the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). The agreement is expected to move to the House and Senate floors in the coming weeks.

The PTPA provides immediate duty-free access to Peru’s market for two-thirds of our farm and food products, including high quality beef, wheat, soybeans, whey, cotton, corn oil, corn gluten feed and meal, apples, pears, peaches, cherries, almonds, frozen french fries, cookies, distilled spirits and breakfast cereals. PTPA opens the market for the remainder of U.S. agricultural products by the end of a transition period.

The U.S. market is already open to most products from Peru on a duty-free basis under the Andean Trade Preferences Act, which Congress overwhelmingly approved. The PTPA ensures our ability to compete fairly in the Peruvian market with the country’s other trading partners, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the European Union and Mexico. Peru already has signed free trade agreements or is in the process of negotiating free trade agreements with these countries.

The PTPA offers our exporters greater opportunities in a dynamic and growing market. It will ensure that the Peruvian economy – and Peru’s demand for our high quality food products – continues to expand. Additionally, it solidifies our friendly ties with an important regional ally, establishing a more stable footing for our ongoing trade relations.

U.S. agricultural exports to Peru include wheat, feed grains, cotton, oilseeds and products, rice, and dairy products. Consumer-oriented food exports have been growing, with the U.S. representing Peru’s fourth largest supplier. The United States will see increased prospects for a wide range of other high value U.S. food products, including cheese and whey, snack foods, pet foods, fresh and processed fruits and juices and wine. 

U.S. meat exports have enjoyed only modest success in the Peruvian market. This is expected to change under the PTPA not only because of the rapid removal of tariffs on most meat, livestock and poultry products but also because of the important commitments Peru has made on sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers. As part of the PTPA, Peru agreed to recognize the U.S. meat inspection system as “equivalent” to its own and to permit imports from plants approved by the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. 

Exports generated by this trade agreement will have a positive affect on the bottom line of U.S. farmers and ranchers. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement will increase U.S. farm exports by $705 million. Additionally, USDA estimates that for every million dollars of agricultural exports, 13.4 jobs are created. Therefore, when fully implemented, the PTPA will provide more than 9,000 new jobs from increased agricultural exports.

This agreement establishes a level playing field that many members of Congress have argued should be a fundamental goal of our trade agreements. We urge Congress to provide U.S. food and agriculture the same trade benefits that it already has extended to farmers and ranchers in Peru. The PTPA provides such reciprocal trade benefits and will generate U.S. exports, create U.S. jobs and enhance the economic well-being of U.S. farming communities. 

Please support the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement!

Sincerely,

American Cotton Shippers' Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Frozen Food Institute, American Meat Institute, American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, Blue Diamond Growers, California Table Grape, Commission, Commodity Markets Council, Corn Refiners Association, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association, International Dairy Foods Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Black Farmers Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Confectioners Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Cottonseed Products Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Grange, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed Possessors Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Potato Council, National Renderers Association, National Sorghum Producers, National Sunflower Association, National Turkey Federation, North American Equipment Dealers Association, North American Export Grain Association, North American Millers’ Association, Northwest Horticultural Council, Pet Food Institute, Produce Marketing Association, Sweetener Users Association, The Fertilizer Institute, U.S. Apple Association, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Dairy Export Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association, U.S.A. Dry Peas and Lentil Council, U.S.A. Poultry & Egg Export Council, U.S.A. Rice Federation, Western Growers Association.

Source: National Pork Producers Council