Farm groups are reviewing and responding to the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that was made available late this week. The National Pork Producers Council quickly pledged strong support to the trade deal and urges Congress to act quickly. The National Cattlemen’s Association president Philip Ellis said “while the agreement is not perfect, it is a vast improvement over the current tariff rates.” NCBA supports the agreement as the TPP would immediately reduce the tariff to Japan from 38.5 percent to 27.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union took a stance of strong opposition. NFU president Roger Johnson said “if we enter this agreement, our trade deficit, already exceeding $500 billion per year, will continue to rise, not fall.” He called the deal “as bad for America’s family farmers and ranchers as we had feared.” While the release of the text is a critical benchmark, there is still much work to be done, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. He said “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of our borders, we cannot afford to let this opportunity slip away.” Trade Representative Michael Froman echoed that in a statement, saying “I would also encourage everyone to take a moment to consider the costs of not moving forward with this agreement.”