President Barack Obama met with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to start promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In the meeting Tuesday, Obama said the agreement will make U.S. agriculture more competitive as the deal eliminates about 18,000 different taxes. The complete text of the agreement has yet to be released. Vilsack told reporters that work is ongoing to make the full text available to the public as soon as possible. Vilsack says the administration hopes to publish information for individual states that would show the benefits of the trade deal on a state level. President Obama made remarks that “there’s going to be a long, healthy process of discussion and consultation and debate before this ever comes to an actual vote.” Getting congressional approval could be an uphill battle, but one that won’t see an outcome until sometime next year.
New Zealand Dairy Co-Op Critical of TPP Deal
The chairman for Fonterra, a New Zealand Dairy co-operative, says the Trans-Pacific Partnership has failed to reach its potential and blamed “entrenched protectionism demonstrated by the US dairy industry.” John Wilson told the Sydney Morning Times he was “very disappointed that the deal falls far short” of its “original ambition to eliminate all tariffs.” Dairy was the last major area to be resolved in the trade negotiations. Australia and New Zealand had called for greater access to the US market though the biggest criticisms were reserved for Canada, where a system of tariffs and supply had protected the nation’s dairy farmers from exports. In the end, according to the Australian newspaper, Canada agreed to open, over five years, foreign quotas for 3.3 percent of its dairy market. New Zealand was hoping for a better outcome for dairy as it accounts for about 30 percent of all exports. Dairy prices in New Zealand have fallen recently since China stepped out of the market and Russian trade sanctions fueled a persistent oversupply of dairy products.
Former Governors Group Urging TPP Support
A group of 14 former governors have released an open letter urging fellow Democrats to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership to strengthen the U.S. economy. The letter highlights the pivotal role that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will play in state and local economies – and the positive impact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have in supporting thousands of higher-paying jobs, according to a White House news release. The letter states that the TPP “will promote sustainable growth, support higher-quality, higher-paying jobs through new export opportunities.
The Former Governors include are: Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, Richard Celeste from Ohio, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Jim Florio of New Jersey, Christine Gregoire from Washington, Jim Hodges of South Carolina, Gary Locke of Washington, Deval Patrick from Massachusetts, Paul Patton of Kentucky, Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Bill Ritter and Roy Romer of Colorado and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.