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Trans-Pacific Partnership is good for Iowa

By Staff | Oct 30, 2015

The U.S. has negotiated 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 has enormous ramifications for farm states. TPP would broaden and improve markets in the region for American agricultural products. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in countries with which the U.S. already has free trade pacts the sale of American farm products has boomed. Similar positive consequences could result if Congress approves the TPP agreement.

“An agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations provides a more level playing field in trade for American farmers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in a statement released Oct. 5. “The agreement would eliminate or significantly reduce tariffs on our products and deter non-science based sanitary and phytosanitary barriers that have put American agriculture at a disadvantage in TPP countries in the past.”

Vilsack pointed out that the countries included in the TPP pact already account for up to 42 percent of American agricultural exports – about $63 billion annually. Growing that trade still more is a huge opportunity for American agriculture.

To illustrate the benefits of the agreement, the USDA released on Oct. 7 a state-by-state breakdown. Here are some of the ways TPP is good for the Hawkeye State according to the USDA:

1). Beef and Veal – “Japan’s beef tariff, currently as high as 50 percent, will be reduced to 9 percent. Japan will eliminate duties on 75 percent of tariff lines, including processed beef products. Vietnam will eliminate tariffs and Malaysia will lock tariffs in at zero percent.”

2). Pork – “Japan will eliminate duties on nearly 80 percent of tariff lines, including processed pork. Remaining tariffs will be cut and the “Gate Price” system significantly altered. Nearly all Malaysian tariffs will be locked in at zero percent and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs.”

3). Corn – “Tariffs are already low in TPP markets, but corn producers will benefit from reduced meat tariffs that are expected to create new feed demand. Malaysia and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs within five years.”

4). Soybeans – “Tariffs are now low in TPP markets, but soybean producers will benefit from reduced meat tariffs that are expected to create new feed demand in Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs on soybean oil and soybean meal.”

Iowans have good reason to back TPP. Our state ranks second among American states in the value of its agricultural exports, according to data released by the USDA. Farm News urges its readers to pay close attention to the response in Congress to TPP. Its approval would be very good news for our state.

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