A coalition of agricultural and food organizations has informed the administration of the U.S. agriculture’s “core” principles for a final, successful Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. The coalition’s letter to U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, presented a set of principles to ensure that the TPP negotiations “fulfill the promise of a high-quality agreement that can serve as a standard for future trade agreements.” The coalition said a final TPP agreement must:
- Cover all elements of trade and investment, including agriculture, goods, services, digital trade, competition policy and intellectual property.
- Not include product or sector exclusions, including in agriculture. Exclusions would limit opportunities in each of the member countries to reach new markets, grow businesses and generate economic growth and jobs.
- Phase out all tariffs and other market access barriers by the end of the negotiated transition period. Transition periods must have commercially meaningful timeframes, which should be short and not back-loaded.
- Include robust outcomes on sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) issues. SPS measures also must be supported by risk-based scientific decision making, regulatory convergence and equivalence.
- Include a “Rapid Response Mechanism” to resolve issues with perishable and time-sensitive shipments of agricultural products held up as result of SPS and technical barriers to trade.
- Include an enforcement mechanism for trade obligations that go beyond those in the World Trade Organization. Failure to include such a mechanism would render new TPP disciplines valueless.
- Be a single undertaking. All elements of the negotiation, including tariff and nontariff SPS measures, must be part of an indivisible package and cannot be agreed upon separately.
Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, American Soybean Association, Animal Health Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Institute, and U.S. Meat Export Federation. The TPP negotiations include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.