ASA Reiterates Trade Priorities, Concerns on Eve of TPP Ministerial-Level MeetingMon, 24 Feb 2014 10:30:12 CST
As U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman heads to Singapore for the upcoming ministerial-level meeting for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, the American Soybean Association took the opportunity to reiterate the association's key priorities for the discussions, as well as significant market access concerns that ASA has regarding the ongoing negotiations with Japan, Canada, and other Pacific-Rim nations. ASA President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser issued the following statement:
"As Ambassador Froman heads to Southeast Asia to represent American interests in the Trans Pacific Partnership, we are both encouraged and concerned about the potential for these upcoming negotiations.
"We are encouraged at the overall progress and prospects presented by the TPP. This agreement is something that we, the growers of America's largest agricultural export, have been behind since day one. The agreement encompasses 11 key trading partners that each represent a growing market for U.S. soy, and combine to account for more than $27 trillion in GDP. If constructed and enacted in the right way, the TPP can be a real game-changer for American soybean farmers and our livestock customers.
"But that's also where we're concerned. Japan, who is the newest member of the TPP negotiations, has requested special protections for numerous agricultural commodities. These protections, which include exemptions for meat and certain grain commodities among others, would not only weaken the TPP agreement, but also hamper the development of agreements with new partners by setting a dangerous precedent allowing countries to pick and choose those parts of an agreement that work for them. It is not a reciprocal or mutually-beneficial approach to trade, and we encourage the U.S. and other TPP nations to reject the Japanese demand to exclude products from eventual liberalization.
"Overall, we remain supportive of the TPP, and optimistic that it can become a vehicle for increased soybean and meat trade with key partners. After all, agricultural trade like that conducted with our fellow TPP nations accounts for more than a million jobs and almost $200 billion in economic activity, but those benefits simply cannot be realized if one member of such a balanced coalition receives such an unbalanced benefit."
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