A discussion panel at the National Association of Governors Meeting in July concluded that agriculture will be a big loser if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not passed by Congress. The TPP involves 12 nations and covers 40 percent of the world’s economy. The agreement opens up new and lucrative markets for American agricultural products overseas. Governors at the meeting called attacks on TPP “misguided,” citing attacks from members of Congress as well as the presidential candidates in the upcoming election. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a longtime supporter of TPP, has backed away from that support as he joined the Trump campaign. Pence recently was quoted as saying he “questions their wisdom.” In 2013, Pence joined the governors of 13 other states in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging progress on three trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; and the Trade in Services Agreement.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman says the agreement is projected to boost the U.S. economy by $4.4 billion annually. Froman said, “We’ve got to get it done this year. If we don’t get it done, given the current political climate, I’m not sure it would get done.” Supporters say it would give the U.S. influence over trade in the Pacific Rim and warn that China is ready to step in if the U.S. does not. President Obama has indicated he will push for consideration of the TPP deal by Congress after the election.