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Agriculture On Trade Deal Hold Up

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A massive trade agreement between 12 countries, covering 40 percent of the global economy, is on hold.
The Obama Administration announced it will not try to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the last leg of the Presidency.
House and Senate leaders were not interested in going after a vote because President-Elect Donald Trump has been against the deal, and intends on withdrawing from it.
One of the few agriculture organizations that was against the TPP is the National Farmers Union, its president Roger Johnson says it's a bad deal as it stands.
As a whole, U.S. agriculture has a trade surplus. But looking from the overall economic perspective, the U.S. economy has a large trade deficit.
Johnson says, "The trade surplus in agriculture is about 5 percent of the overall deficit, the deficit is enormous. It's over half a trillion dollars a year, it's a three percent drag on our GDP, and it's 2 to 5 million jobs that are other countries instead of here."
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) is for the TPP, they say it opens up a lot of market access for agriculture in general, especially with livestock.
But even with the deal going nowhere now, they are still looking forward to working with the new administration.
Sarah Gonzalez with NGFA says, "They are open to trade, they are just hesitant for a large trade deal, but we do know that they want to talk about it and they want to designate smart people with a lot of experience in agriculture and trade that we're going to work with, talk to them why we like it, why we need access in those markets and why multilateral agreements are more efficient than multiple bilateral agreements."
One aspect of the TPP involves how the United States works with countries on the Pacific Ocean.

President Obama is expected to travel to Peru this month, there he will talk to China's president Xi Jinping as well as members of the TPP according to a white house press call.

China already consumes half of the world's pork production. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says Chinese demand affects global demand, especially on meat.
Thad Lively, the Senior Vice President for Trade for USMEF, says, "It's to our advantage as the United States to have a close and cooperative and constructive trading relationship with China. TPP's not part of that process but it's a step in that direction. It says to all the countries in the region that we want to be part of this trading network with you."
Lively supports the TPP and says U.S. agriculture needs it to stay competitive. China is building a separate trade agreement with many of the current TPP countries and with that could gain those countries a huge advantage in trade.
Lively adds some day China could become a part of the TPP.
Johnson thinks it's a good thing TPP is dead in the lame duck session, but says that doesn't mean it can't be fixed, "I don't necessarily believe that that means it's dead forever. The Trump Administration is saying they can do a better job in negotiating, there are some fairly basic things that could be done to renegotiate TPP that would be good for us and that I think other countries would be amenable to."
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman says the TPP is in purgatory right now, adding years of negotiating the deal was not a waste, the deal can still be implemented.
Froman was a big supporter of the trade agreement and hopes the benefits will be seen over time.
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