Prospects for U.S. farm exports can change suddenly and dramatically. Breaking into foreign markets takes decades of persistent hard work and hefty investments in building infrastructure, relationships and, ultimately, sales.
The leaders of Japan and the other 10 remaining countries in the renamed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) signed off on the sweeping trade pact last Thursday and many in the U.S. ag sector are worried they’ll suffer from being left out.
When Japan was asked if it wanted fries to go with recent free trade agreements, it said yes. Unfortunately for U.S. potato farmers and processors, those fries will come mostly from Canadian and Belgian spuds.
Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico, China, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are just some of the destinations where USDA's Ted McKinney will likely be getting his passport stamped as he works to build new relationships and rekindle existing ones in order to boost U.S. exports.
Canadian beef and pork exporters have long relied on their U.S. neighbors as solid trading partners, but that relationship has grown increasingly rocky during the contentious renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The uncertainty surrounding the talks and the future of U.S.-Canadian trade has the northern producers looking to Asia, and they like what they see.
It was difficult for much of the U.S. ag sector to watch as President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) about 10 months ago and now the pain is sharpening as the remaining 11 countries appear to be on the verge of ratifying the massive trade pact without one of the founding members.