WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Pork Producers Council, after reviewing the text of the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, today expressed unequivocal support for the TPP deal and called on the U.S. Congress to expeditiously pass the agreement.
Initiated in late 2008, TPP 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.
“Past U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) have demonstrated the importance to our industry of opening international markets,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “TPP will provide benefits to our producers that dramatically exceed those of prior trade agreements. I assure you that pork producers across this great nation will do whatever it takes to get TPP passed by Congress and implemented.”
Previous agreements have increased U.S. pork exports by 1,550 percent in value and almost 1,300 percent in volume since 1989 – the year the United States began using bilateral and regional trade agreements to open foreign markets – and now are valued at nearly $6.7 billion.
“The United States now exports more pork to its 20 FTA partners than to the rest of the world combined,” Prestage said. “Free trade agreements work,” he stressed, “not just for pork producers and U.S. agriculture but for the entire U.S. economy. As a nation, we export almost as much to our FTA partners as we do to the rest of the world combined.”
More than a quarter of total U.S. pork production now is exported, and those exports add more than $62 to the price pork producers receive for each hog marketed. Pork exports help generate an estimated 110,000 pork-related U.S. jobs.
Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, who said a final TPP agreement would be “the most important commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork producers,” estimates the TPP will exponentially increase U.S. pork exports and help create more than 10,000 U.S. jobs tied to those exports.
“Without the TPP agreement, U.S. pork exports to the Pacific Rim region would be at a serious competitive disadvantage,” said Prestage. “Competitors such as the European Union, which are negotiating FTAs with countries in the region, will leap at the opportunity to fill the void that congressional delay would create. It is important that Congress act swiftly so that we don’t fall behind.”
The TPP has the potential to provide even greater trade benefits if and when it is opened to additional countries, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, all of which have expressed interest in joining the trade bloc.
“NPPC deeply appreciates the efforts of U.S. trade officials in achieving an outcome from the TPP negotiations that will provide enormous new market opportunities for high-quality U.S. pork products,” said Prestage.