As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations meet this week in Guam to continue negotiations, agri-food producer and processor organisations from around the world have united to call for a trade agreement to improve market access for agricultural products.
The organisations advocating for an ambitious, fair and comprehensive TPP agreement are the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Australian National Farmers’ Federation, and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand.
Together, they represent hundreds of thousands of farmers, producers, processors and exporters who, in turn, employ millions of workers across the TPP region.
“Our agricultural sectors and the jobs they provide depend on a thriving network of export markets,” said Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance.
“By creating stable and open market access, the TPP’s potential to stimulate economic growth is incredible. A comprehensive agreement would encourage regional supply chains with production and processing occurring where competitive advantages exist.
"However, without a plurilateral agreement, the TPP could actually reduce market access for agri-food exporters.
"It would be very negative if some TPP countries provide preferential market access to select countries and not others.”
Despite the fact that agriculture is traditionally regarded as a sensitive subject in trade talks, the American Farm Bureau has said that negotiators must uphold a high level of ambition in order to realise the TPP’s broader objectives of opening up trade.
“Australian farmers are of the view that this agreement must deliver significant outcomes across the sector and thus across the economy,” National Farmers Federation President Brent Finlay said.
The TPP region represents 792 million consumers and 40 percent of world trade while also maintaining a coveted status as an integral part of global value chains.
In fact, trade among TPP partners equalled over $2 trillion in 2012.
While this number is considerable, these international farming organisations say they will continue to call for the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers that currently exist among the member countries, in order to increase the value of this trade market through additional sales of agricultural products.
“New Zealand farmers have always strongly supported the benefits of free trade, which include improved market access and reduced trade barriers for our exports,” added Dr William Rolleston, president of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.
“Our members strongly encourage TPP negotiators to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers in this agreement and eliminate export subsidies and other policies that distort markets.”
“The TPP will only fulfil its promise of improved and increased trade in the Pacific region when it eliminates any barriers to trade, including tariff and non-tariff trade barriers,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“US agriculture has high expectations for the TPP, and we are calling on all countries involved to commit to a better agreement and freer trade worldwide.”