Latest Round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Wraps Up

The 19th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations concluded before the Labor Day Holiday. Nearly 40 food and agricultural organizations – including the National Pork Producers Council – joined together to support a robust outcome from the negotiations. The coalition presented U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack with a set of core principles to ensure the negotiations fulfill the promise of a high-quality agreement that can serve as a standard for future trade agreements.

NPPC Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano says the first principle is that a final, successful TPP agreement must be comprehensive – covering all elements of trade and investment…

“We don’t want any product or sector exclusions. We don’t want agriculture as a whole to be excluded, nor do we want any exclusions in any sectors. Once you start excluding things, they start to unravel. Those of us who are in agriculture tend to have products that are sensitive and countries often times want to keep agricultural products out of negotiations. It’s in our best interest to make sure that these agreements are inclusive and all tariffs and other market barriers be eliminated.”

Another principle is to have robust outcomes on sanitary-phytosanitary issues – Giordano says – with SPS measures supported by risk-based scientific decision making, regulatory convergence and equivalence…

“Within agriculture we would like to see an SPS chapter that goes beyond the WTO SPS agreement. So an SPS+ chapter that would include a rapid response mechanism. The idea is not to have to go to the WTO every time we have a problem or not to have problems on the long track. In agriculture we have products with a very limited shelf life and we want to get issues resolved asap. For that reason we want an SPS+ chapter that is enforceable and has a rapid response mechanism.”

Lastly – Giordano says the coalition wants the TPP to be a single undertaking – with all elements of the negotiation as part of an indivisible package that can’t be agreed upon separately…

“We have made these objectives public. We have 11 other countries involved in this negotiation. Its important that not only Washington understand what we are asking for but our trading partners as well.”

Giordano thinks it is possible – but it won’t be easy getting there. He says these principles should be helpful in reaching the objective – a comprehensive, high-quality 21st Century agreement including all sectors, addressing SPS issues and tariffs and being enforceable.


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