Farmers for Free Trade: Indo-Pacific Economic Framework progress being made

The executive director of Farmers for Free Trade says overcoming non-tariff trade barriers should be a priority for the Biden administration as they continue work on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity.

Brian Kuehl says consistent sanitary and phytosanitary measures for all countries involved would benefit agriculture.

“Those are really important issues and we could see improvements in exports from beef to pork to commodity crops. We need to see how far the administration can get with that.”

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework establishes high-standard commitments for economic engagement for at least 14 countries including the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Kuehl says the Biden administration does not believe there’s a political will in Congress to pass a Free Trade Agreement and have taken this approach instead.

He says while this isn’t a Free Trade Agreement, tariff reductions would also improve U.S. market access. Kuehl says it will be hard for the U.S. to compete in trade with countries involved in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“If our beef is more expensive than Australian beef, it’s hard to compete. The cheaper beef will be purchased.”

A ministerial alliance with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework met in the United States at the end of May. Kuehl says meetings show progress and the initiative can be used as springboard for bigger trade deals.

The framework is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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