By Barbara Olejnik
Poultry Times staff
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations have been released and the Congress notified that the agreement will be presented for a vote.
The text of the agreement runs to 30 chapters and hundreds of pages, laying out plans for handling of trade in everything from agriculture to pharmaceuticals to equipment with specifics for each of the 12 nations involved.
In addition to the U.S., other TPP nations are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, President Barack Obama notified the Congress of “my intention to enter into a free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which will generate export opportunities for U.S. manufacturers, service suppliers, farmers, ranchers and businesses; help create jobs in the United States; and help American consumers save money while offering them more choices.”
Under a trade law passed earlier this year, the so-called “fast track legislation,’ the president must give the public time to review the text before he signs the agreement and turns it over to Congress for approval.
This fast track legislation allows the administration to present a trade agreement to the Congress for an up or down vote with no amendments permitted.
Ambassador Michael Froman of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative termed the TPP as “a high standard agreement which supports more well-paying American jobs, strengthens our middle class and advances both our interests and our values abroad.”
The administration, in urging approval of the TPP agreement, has stated that it would eventually eliminate more than 18,000 tariffs that participating countries have placed on U.S. products.
The administration is backed in its quest to secure the trade agreement by various industry groups, which have expressed support of the TPP agreement.
National Chicken Council President Mike Brown said the agreement “will open markets and increase U.S. chicken exports and bring increased economic benefits to chicken farmers and companies across the country.”
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council President Jim Sumner noted that TPP “should provide a great opportunity to expand U.S. poultry exports. Our industry is most appreciative of the emphasis given to all of our products during the lengthy negotiation process.”
The agreement “offers new opportunities for U.S. feed, feed ingredients, pet food and feed equipment exports,” stated Gina Tumbarello, American Feed Industry Association director of international policy and trade.
In urging Congress to move quickly to pass the agreement, Barry Carpenter, North American Meat Institute president, said, “This agreement holds enormous potential for U.S. agriculture and levels the playing field for American workers and businesses in the world’s fastest growing economic region.”
Also voicing support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership were the National Corn Growers Association, U.S. Grains Council, National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Soybean Association.
However, congressional approval of the trade agreement is uncertain as U.S. lawmakers face opposition to the agreement from several sources.
U.S. opponents of the deal include labor unions, environmental groups and liberal Democrats who say the agreement will kill jobs or send them overseas.
In addition, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she is opposed to the agreement. Her position could make it harder for the administration to garner yes votes.
If all 12 countries have not ratified the agreement within two years, provisions allow for it to take effect if six countries comprising 85 percent of the GNP of the bloc have signed. That means U.S. ratification would be needed for the agreement to enter into force.
The complete text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement is available at https://medium.com/the-trans-pacific-partnership.