This week there was an agreement made in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks for a free-trade deal with 12 countries.
Many agriculture organizations approve of the deal despite many details not yet made public. The full text will be available when President Obama's Administration sends it out. Sixty days after that, the administration can present it to Congress.
The White House says TPP will give a near-term boost to the U.S. economy and shape economic and strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific Region President Obama and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack promoted it saying U.S. agriculture will become more competitive with nearly 18,000 different taxes eliminated. When the full text is available, Vilsack says individual state information will also be published.
One of the dissenting ag voices of the deal is the National Farmers Union. They say that without enforceable language against currency manipulations, there cannot be free and fair trade.
President of the National Farmers Union Roger Johnson says, "Currency manipulation has become our trade competitors favorite maneuver for skirting massive trade deals soon as they sign them. Once these deals become effective, countries devalue their currency. Immediately reducing the costs of their goods to us and everyone else. And at the same time, increasing the costs of our goods to them. Thereby increasing our trade deficit."
Johnson says some of the members of TPP already have a track record when it comes to currency manipulation. In August, Vietnam devalued currency in response to a China devaluation. He adds it lets other countries outmaneuver the U.S. in unfair ways and urges Congress to reject the bill.
Getting congressional approval for TPP could also be an uphill battle. While many ag groups support the deal, because of reduced tariffs and eased regulations to farm trade, there was early opposition on both sides of the political aisle. Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch does not like the deal's pharmaceutical provisions.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he's waiting to see the full bill before make a decision to vote for it but he is also concerned about some provisions to the bill, "I think it's going to be very, very difficult to get it through based upon opposition that was expressed during the month of June when we had this up, and I think that it'd be particularly difficult in the house of representatives more so than in the Senate."
It's unlikely that a vote will be seen until next year after a review schedule of up to half a year, which would put the vote in the middle of presidential primaries.
Countries in TPP account for about 42 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports, about 63 billion dollars. Analysts say the deal could boost ag sales by $3 billion a year by 2025.