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US agri groups urge TPP approval

US agri groups spoke in favour of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal before a US House of Representatives sub-committee.

US agri producers would see significant benefits from the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, industry representatives have told a US House sub-committee.

They told the sub-committee on Tuesday that the trade agreement would increase access for US exporters to fast-growing economies and increase influence in the Asia-Pacific region. A strong dollar and weak commodity prices have left many US agri exports lagging in the last year.

“The TPP Agreement provides an opportunity to increase markets for US agriculture and establish science-based standards for agricultural trade within the TPP region,” said Kevin Paap, chair of the Trade Advisory Committee for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Our analysis of TPP shows a significant positive impact on agriculture with an increase of net exports to the TPP countries of $5.3 billion annually and a boost to net farm income of $4.4 billion annually.”

Representatives from the US fruit, dairy and pork sectors spoke in favour of the deal, citing opportunities for increased dairy exports to Canada, beef and pork exports to Japan and fruit exports to Vietnam.

Both of the presumptive presidential nominees have come out against the agreement approved by the Obama administration in February, due to the perception that previous fair trade agreements have hurt US workers.

Sub-committee chair Dave Reichert said the removal of tariffs could open up markets in key consumer nations:

“Even though we just implemented the Colombia and Korea free trade agreements a few years ago, US agri exports to those countries are already setting triple digit-growth for some products,” he said.

“The TPP agreement also holds great promise.”

Debate over the deal comes as a US agri export surplus is projected to fall to its lowest level since 2006.