NMPF Sees Uphill Push for Eventual TPP Passage
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has been quite the political football in recent months. Politicians on both sides of the aisle wrangle for position on which administration will be responsible for making a decision on its eventual passage or demise.
Nevertheless, most of agriculture has come down in favor of the agreement, citing greater access to foreign markets and better advantages over competitors. Jim Mulhern, CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, echoes the organization’s support of TPP. On AgriTalk today he predicted eventual passage.
“While it will be an uphill push, at the end of the day we see TPP passing because it’s too important not only to U.S. agriculture but to the U.S. economy and national security interests,” he says. “TPP is a net-plus for the dairy industry and it’s clearly a net-plus for U.S. agriculture.”
Mulhern says that while not everything asked for was granted in the initial writeup, there is enough in the agreement to merit a positive outcome for the U.S. dairy industry. He cited that while dairy did not get the reduction in tariffs with regard to access to Japanese and Canadian markets, the U.S. was successful in preventing access to domestic markets by New Zealand. Other areas including non-tariff trade barrier issues and geographical indications were a big win for U.S. exports.
TPP is necessary to help the U.S. move product into the Pacific Rim countries, Mulhern says, where there is a growing middle class creating large opportunities for agriculture.
Benefits aside, the political situation is a frustrating one for everyone in agriculture. “When the political situation settles down, I do think TPP gets done,” Mulhern says. “If not in the lame duck session at least in 2017.”