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Farm News Editorial

By Staff | Mar 13, 2015

USDA releases data

showing possible impact

The U.S. is attempting to negotiate a trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP that would make commerce easier between our country and 11 nations in the Asia-Pacific region – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

This agreement could have enormous ramifications for farm states, according to a statement released Feb. 26 by the U.S. Department of agriculture. The TPP would broaden and improve markets in the region for American agricultural products. The USDA reports that in the countries with which the U.S. already has free trade pacts the sale of American farm products has boomed. It projects similar positive consequences if the TPP becomes a reality.

The USDA has provided two examples of how TPP would boost exports of some U.S. food and agricultural products that are especially relevant to Iowa:

  • “Soybeans and Soybean Products: Under the agreement, tariffs across the TPP region will be cut, offering new market access opportunities to U.S. producers and exporters of soybeans and soybean products. In 2014 the United States exported $5.5 billion of this product to the TPP region.
  • “Poultry and Beef: Under the agreement, tariffs across the TPP region will be cut, offering new market access opportunities to U.S. poultry and beef producers and exporters. In 2014, the United States exported about $7 billion in poultry and beef to the TPP region.”

Iowans have good reason to follow the TPP negotiations closely. The Hawkeye State ranks second among American states in the value of its agricultural exports, according to data just released by the USDA. The department estimates the value of Iowa’s agricultural exports at about $10.2 billion for 2013, the most recent year for which that statistic is available. Those exports are growing rapidly. The impressive number for 2013 is up from $8.3 billion in 2009 – a 22.9 percent increase.

Iowa’s agricultural sector already benefits mightily from foreign sales. The TPP has the potential of making our exports grow still more.

Farm News urges its readers to pay close attention to these trade negotiations and the response in Congress to whatever agreement emerges. The TPP’s potential impact on our state is huge.

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