Japan demands ag exceptions in TPP

The National Pork Producers Council will oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement if Japan is included in the deal but doesn’t eliminate all tariffs and other forms of protection on pork.

Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exclusion from the agreement of certain “sensitive” products that includes pork. In addition to being the largest value market for U.S. pork exports ($1.89 Billion in 2013), Japan is the fourth largest market for the rest of U.S. agriculture, which shipped $12.1 billion of food and agricultural products to the island nation in 2013. The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Tariffs have been eliminated on pork in every other U.S. free trade agreement, and TPP should be no different. A final TPP agreement that does not eliminate all tariffs and non-tariff barriers on U.S. pork products will negatively affect U.S. pork exports for the next 20 years, meaning billions of dollars less in U.S. pork sales and tens of thousands fewer U.S. jobs. If the United States allows product exclusions, future TPP partners such as China and the Philippines inevitably will demand the right to do the same.

Already the European Union (EU) has indicated it will seek to protect pork and other agricultural products through the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Lead trade negotiators from Japan and the United States, along with other TPP partners, will meet in Singapore next week to discuss outstanding critical points of the negotiations, including U.S. pork market access in Japan.

NPPC’s position is that tariffs should be brought to zero on all products, including pork. The elimination of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) and of unscientific barriers put up by the EU to protect its domestic industries are reasonable requests that are consistent with all previous U.S. free trade agreements; the EU should be no different. The EU is the second largest market in the world for pork consumption and represents a tremendous market opportunity for U.S. pork exports. The fourth round of TTIP negotiations is set for March 10-14 in Brussels, Belgium.

NPPC said that any trade deal with the EU must eliminate all tariffs and all other barriers on U.S. pork. Removal of all EU barriers would significantly increase U.S. pork exports to the EU, creating more than 17,000 U.S. jobs, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.

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