Although the Tans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the latest incarnation of a Pacific Rim trade agreement, the multilateral trade deal would expand the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement. That agreement was ratified by Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand in 2005 and entered into force in 2006.
In an effort to move TPP toward ratification, leading agricultural organizations have sent a letter to the leadership of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives requesting support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The broad coalition of stakeholders is asking for congressional approval of TPP in 2016 – a daunting task in an election year.
The agreement has gained support from a large number of farm organizations and agricultural stakeholders because it would substantially expand United States farm exports. According to the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), the TPP has the potential to serve as a major step forward in establishing rules-based global trade that will provide greater access to foreign markets.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, TPP will boost annual net farm income in the United States by $4.4 billion.
In their letter to Senate and House leadership, the groups stated that, if faithfully implemented, “TPP will help level the playing field for U.S. exports and create new opportunities for us in the highly competitive Asia-Pacific region”. They went on to note that “The TPP is critical to the livelihood of the U.S. food and agriculture sector because it will create conditions that encourage economic growth and increased employment in rural areas and throughout the supply chain.”
Opponents of TPP see things differently. They believe that, despite presidential promises of job gains, previous Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have resulted in lost jobs and stagnant wages. They also note that several countries involved in the TPP have long violated fundamental labor rights or have problematic labor histories.
As long as there is the potential for an up-or-down vote on the agreement in 2016, it will remain an election-year issue. Whether or not the deal is passed, it will put all the incumbents in these races on record supporting or opposing the trade policy. For this reason, any vote in Congress may be delayed until after the 2016 November elections.
The coalition letter can be accessed here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/phugjn0og5cxjhd/Ag-Food-Industry-Letter-to-House-Senate-Leadership-Support-TPP-in-….pdf?dl=0
For information regarding TPP, please visit https://ustr.gov/tpp/#what-is-tpp
For additional background and analysis, please contact:
Copyright © 2016 RDL & Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.