AGRIBUSINESS: Trans-Pacific Partnership Problems

Posted on: 3:19 pm, December 24, 2013, by

A final Trans-Pacific Partnership isn’t in the cards for 2013, but in terms of agriculture, the deal could yield a lot of positives, principally in the form of market access to Japan.

United States Soybean Export Council CEO Jim Sutter feels fewer trade barriers could translate into more soybeans consumed domestically before Japan-bound beef exports leave the country.

Speaking at a trade forum in November, U.S. Meat Export Federation Chair Mark Jagels said all signs are pointing to Japan relaxing its restrictions on American beef.

He said, “You know they want our product all ready. They’re in there since February 1st, we went to 30 month and under. I mean our exports increased over 50-percent just in that time frame.”

In recent TPP talks, Japan has requested special exemptions for what it calls “sensitive products,” which include beef. Groups like America Farm Bureau say Japan should be left in the in a final deal if they won’t drop trade barriers on those products.

The TPP deal has two additional obstacles to overcome. The first is widespread opposition due to leaked draft language covering the deal’s approach to intellectual property rights. The second is congressional opposition to President Obama seeking trade promotion authority.

A bipartisan group of 173 members of the House have written the President to inform him that they will oppose TPA should he seek it.