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Unlocking the Power of the Seed

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – Benefits To U.S. Agriculture

The U.S. concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam on October 5, 2015. The TPP agreement will advance U.S. economic interests in a critical region that accounts for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The agreement will also help the U.S. respond to the regional and bilateral trade agreements that are already in place or are being negotiated by competitor countries. This high-standard agreement opens markets and will support expansion of U.S. food and agricultural exports, increase farm income, generate more rural economic activity, and promote job growth. Nationwide, U.S. food and agricultural exports reached a record of over $150 billion in 2014, supporting more than one million American jobs. Global demand for these products is growing but so is competition among suppliers. The TPP region accounts for nearly $63 billion of that total.

The TPP agreement grant new and enhanced market access in Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Brunei; countries with which the U.S. does not currently have a free trade agreement (FTA). It also expands market access into Canada, which already has an FTA with the United States. Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Brunei have a combined population of 255 million and, in 2014, accounting for more than 11 percent ($16.9 billion) of all U.S. agricultural product exports. The inclusion of Japan’s $4.8 trillion economy in the TPP agreement is of particular importance. Japan is already the U.S. fourth-largest agricultural export market, despite substantial market access barriers. In countries where the U.S. has FTAs, exports of U.S. food and agricultural products have grown significantly.

Specifically for soybean farmers, processors and exporters, the TPP will help us gain a competitive advantage over our competitors in Brazil and Argentina. Additionally, the TPP expands markets for U.S. pork, beef, poultry and dairy producers, which are the U.S. soy industry’s largest customers.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures: The TPP agreement builds on and enhances the rules of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement. It promotes the development and application of SPS measures in a risk-based, scientifically sound manner, while ensuring that regulatory agencies in the U.S. and other TPP member countries are able to protect food safety and plant and animal health. Provisions of the agreement include enhanced transparency, rapid notification of shipments held at point-of-import, and greater public input in the development of SPS measures. The agreement also provides for consultative and dispute settlement mechanisms to resolve SPS issues between governments in a timely fashion.

Agricultural Biotechnology: The TPP marks the first time the topic of agricultural biotechnology is covered in a bilateral or regional U.S. trade agreement. Recognizing that agricultural biotechnology is an important tool to feed the world’s growing population in a sustainable manner, the agreement includes provisions on agricultural biotechnology that commit TPP countries to foster transparency in their decision-making processes, to work together on situations of low-level presence, and to promote timely authorization of products of modern biotechnology. The TPP agreement also creates a voluntary working group to address matters related to trade in agricultural biotechnology products.

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