Pork groups urge tariff elimination in TPP

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2014 - Organizations representing hog farmers in the U.S., Australia, Chile and Mexico are calling on negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks to come up with a “comprehensive, high-quality” agreement that eliminates tariffs on nearly all products, including pork.

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The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the other groups pointed out in a letter that the agreed-upon objectives of the TPP are: that it include trade in goods - including agricultural ones - services, investment, e-commerce, competition policy and intellectual property; that there be no product or sector exclusions, especially in agriculture; that all tariffs and other market access barriers such as Japan's Gate Price be eliminated by the end of the negotiated transition period; and that all transition periods have “commercially meaningful” timeframes, which should be short and not back-loaded.

“Failure to achieve these objectives would call into question the oft-stated pledge to make TPP the gold standard for future Free Trade Agreements and our ability to support the agreement,” the groups said in the letter. The other groups are: Australian Pork Limited, the Canadian Pork Council, the Asociación Gremial de Productores de Cerdos de Chile and the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos

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

The pork organizations also expressed concern that the TPP market access objectives won't be achieved if negotiators accept the current trade offer from Japan, which is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination of certain “sensitive” products, including pork.

“A broad exemption for Japan will encourage other TPP countries to withhold market access concessions, backtrack on current offers, lower the ambition on rules language and possibly unravel the entire agreement,” the groups said. “Additionally, it would set a dangerous precedent for the expansion of the TPP when other nations are likely to demand a Japan-type deal.”

The organizations called on their respective governments to “redouble their efforts to move Japan away from this untenable position” and, if it's unwilling to open its markets fully to pork products, to conclude an agreement without Tokyo's involvement.

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