Donnelly, Grassley push for better market access for U.S. pork in TPP talks

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2013 - Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, recently sent a letter - signed by 31 senators - to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging them to push for broader market access for U.S. pork in countries that are part of the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.

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The senators said U.S. pork production supports an estimated 555,000 domestic jobs, of which about 110,000 are the direct result of exports. They said pork exports make an annual surplus contribution of about $5 billion to the overall trade balance.

“Around the world, however, numerous market access barriers exist that prevent pork exports from contributing even more to the domestic economy,” Donnelly and Grassley said in the letter sent on Friday.

The senators said there are numerous market access barriers for U.S. pork in countries participating in the TPP, such as Japan's complex system of tariffs that reduce the volume of U.S. pork exports, while other countries have non-tariff barriers that constrain U.S. pork shipments.

U.S. negotiators, the senators said, should insist that tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork in each TPP country be removed, an action that would prompt U.S. pork exports to grow by more than 50 percent within 10 years.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said it strongly supports the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

 “Increasing pork exports are important to many more Americans than just pork producers,” said NPPC President Randy Spronk. “So a comprehensive agreement that gives the U.S. pork industry more access to the markets of the TPP countries will be good for pork producers and the U.S. economy.”

The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global gross domestic product.

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