WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2015 - Sugar growers had a lot to lose in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but they say theyre pleased with the outcome. We have carefully examined the final language and details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and are pleased to confirm that Americas trade negotiators delivered on their pledge to not undermine U.S. sugar policy, the American Sugar Alliance said in a statement late Tuesday.

Australia used the negotiations to demand increased access to the U.S. sugar market. In side letters to the TPP, the two countries agreed to consult on that possibility, but the discussions won’t occur until nine years after the agreement takes effect at the earliest.

One of President Obamas most critical allies on Capitol Hill, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, isnt as happy with the TPP. In a Nov. 6 address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hatch went so far as to say the agreement needs to be renegotiated to address concerns about its impact on the pharmaceutical industry and the expensive type of cutting-edge drugs known as biologics.

Hatch tells Agri-Pulse that there are also concerns about the TPPs impact on the tobacco industry and dairy, but its clear what he is worried about is pharmaceuticals. I dont want to lose the biologics industry, he said. The deal guarantees companies only five to eight years of market protection for new drugs, while U.S. law provides 12.

Hatch said Tuesday that he doesnt think the issue could be adequately introduced in side letters with other TPP countries. My initial impression, and Im still studying it . is that they need to renegotiate it.

Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said it would be difficult to do what Hatch wants without requiring other TPP countries to change their laws. Sadly, I think it's a serious issue at this point, but sometimes views evolve as the debate goes on, he said. 

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, who is also a member of the Finance Committee, tells Agri-Pulse that the prospect of the TPP being renegotiated is remote to say the least.

Several farm groups have endorsed the agreement since the White House released the text last Thursday, and leaders of groups representing soybeans, corn, wheat, beef and pork, along with the U.S. Grains Council and Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Phil Karsting, scheduled a news conference to promote TPP on Wednesday in Kansas City in connection with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention.

The United Fresh Produce Association is among other groups supporting the deal, saying it has great potential to open markets, level the playing field and help close the ongoing trade deficit faced by the fresh produce sector.


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