American Farm Bureau Federation yet to take a formal position on TPP
Cody – “The Trans-Pacific trade agreement (TPP) is a big trade agreement that’s been negotiated between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries,” stated American Farm Bureau (AFBF) Federation Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson.
Anderson was a speaker at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) annual meeting in Cody on Nov. 13.
“This will be one of the biggest free trade agreements that’s ever been put together, and I think as we talk about this thing over the next few months, it’s going to be a fairly controversial topic,” he noted.
AFBF has not yet taken an official stance for or against TPP, but analysts are reviewing the agreement and an official position will be announced after the board meets in December.
“Agreements like this have a lot of moving parts, and we want to see what the effects are for all of our membership and all of their country before we take a formal position,” he explained.
Historically, AFBF has typically supported similar agreements, and the United States already has a number of trade agreements with countries involved in the TPP.
“With Mexico, for instance, U.S. exports are already duty-free under NAFTA. In Chile, U.S. exports are already duty-free under existing trade agreements, and in Australia, U.S. exports are duty-free under existing trade agreements,” said Anderson.
Japan’s involvement in TPP may be one of the biggest game-changers for the United States, he added.
“It is encouraging that Japan, which is a huge market for beef, pork and poultry, will have tariffs start to come down that have been in place for a long time and are pretty substantial,” he remarked.
Impacts from the agreement will not be realized right away though, as Congress still needs to approve the deal, and some elements of the agreement have a 20-year phase-out period.
“Several things have to be done,” Anderson noted. “The International Trade Commission is doing the formal evaluation of the deal right now. They’ll send that to Congress, and it won’t be done until May.”
Once the agreement goes into effect, he added, “A lot happens in the first five years, but everything is not fully done, in some cases, for 20 years.”
Concerning Wyoming, TPP negotiations with Japan could open doors for beef and veal, the state’s top exported products.
“For beef and veal going into Japan, we actually do see some improvement in access under TPP,” Anderson mentioned.
Different product lines, such as short ribs, flank steaks, loins and brisket, will be addressed separately throughout the agreement. They can all be treated differently in terms of pair schedules, quotas and other factors.
“Some of the individual product lines have as high as a 50 percent tariff,” he noted of beef and veal products going into Japan.
He added, “Pork is probably an even bigger deal. Duties will be eliminated on nearly 80 percent of the lines, and there are a lot of individual product lines on pork.”
U.S. free trade
Anderson also explained that the U.S. has historically been fairly aggressive in pursuing free trade agreements.
“Our barriers tend to be far lower than about anybody else’s. We do have tariffs on beef for instance, but they are very low. We have some quotas on dairy products, but they are fairly generous,” he said. “Typically in these deals, we’re bringing other people closer to our position.”
Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.