TPP pig farmers’ top priority during fall legislative fly-In

TPP pig farmers’ top priority during fall legislative fly-In

Iowa Pork Producers Association leaders meet with Iowa Congressman David Young at his office in Washington, D.C.

Getting a vote this year on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was the top issue on which pig farmers from around the country lobbied their congressional lawmakers this month during the National Pork Producers Council’s biannual legislative fly-in.

In addition to TPP, more than 130 producers from 20 states spent Sept. 14 and 15 urging their senators and representatives to include funding in the next Farm Bill for a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank and to oppose a U.S. Department of Agriculture regulation – the so-called GIPSA rule – that would restrict the buying and selling of livestock.

“TPP, the FMD vaccine bank and the GIPSA rule are critically important issues for our industry,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pig farmer from Dysart. “But getting TPP approved and implemented is the No. 1 pork industry priority.”

The TPP includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The nations have a combined 800 million consumers and account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

“NPPC has been a strong, consistent supporter of free trade agreements,” Weber said. “On average the past 10 years, the United States has been the top global exporter of pork because of FTAs. In fact, we now ship more pork to the 20 U.S. FTA partner nations than to the rest of the world combined.

“But as good as the past FTAs have been, the TPP represents our biggest commercial opportunity ever,” said Weber. “This is a landscape-changing deal that will significantly affect the future of my family and pork-producing families throughout the country. The TPP will cause U.S. pork exports to increase exponentially, and we’ll see at least 10,000 new U.S. jobs created because of that increase.”

During their Capitol Hill visits, hog farmers pointed out the significant negative financial impact that failing to pass TPP will have on their bottom line. Sales and market share will be lost to competitor countries, such as the European Union, that are negotiating FTAs with the TPP nations.

“We cannot walk away from this deal,” Weber said. “Not only would we—and I mean the entire U.S. economy—lose the benefits of expanded exports to the fastest-growing region of the world, we would lose existing market share in the 11 TPP countries, and that would mean lost U.S. jobs. The impact on the American economy would be devastating.”

Additionally, the United States, which led the TPP negotiations, would lose credibility in the region, Weber pointed out.

“If the United States abandons this agreement, which country would want to expend energy negotiating with us on a future trade agreement?” asked Weber. “Never mind the serious economic damage we would inflict on ourselves, if Congress fails to pass the TPP, we signal to the world that geopolitically Asia is not important.”