The next round of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement is being negotiated in Maui, Hawaii this week.
Please find attached the communications TGANC sent regarding TPP today. Also attached is a congressional letter signed by 24 members of Congress today urging Ambassador Froman not to treat tobacco differently in the current round of negotiations.
It is very important that we display a unified front on this topic at this time. Reports from Hawaii suggests that a tobacco carve out is necessary to advance the TPP. This cant be true as rational and justification for such policy hasn’t been revealed. We also remain aware of the inconsistency of arguments presented by USTR on this subject for over three years now.
Remember that a carve out of tobacco is a dangerous precedent. Can you trust that animal agriculture isn’t next because it was raised in confinement, or row crops to Europe that have GMO, or peanuts due to allergic concerns? The answer is no. The members of our delegation have taken a firm stand opposing this discriminatory treatment. It is critical that we let them know their leadership is appreciated and supported. I have attached a letter generated by Congressman George Holding and signed by 23 of his peers that Congress sent to USTR today. Please convey your appreciation to all who signed it.
Also, Senator Thom Tillis will address the TPP attempt to carve out tobacco from the Senate floor tomorrow between 12:30 –1:00 pm live on CSPAN. Please thank Senator Tillis for putting principal above politics. He is doing this because it is the right thing to do even if it may be un-popular among some audiences.
NC State economists generated trade models for us a year ago that calculated the potential increased trade in the TPP region (if the tariffs were removed) could amount to 30-40 million pounds of new exports. At a period when contracts were cut an estimated 20% in 2015 we need the opportunity to compete for every new pound of market share in the global marketplace.
Executive Vice President
Tobacco Growers Association of NC