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TPP needs to be good for US agriculture

Lawmakers are pushing to protect the US agriculture industry in Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement negotiations.

A letter sent to the President earlier this week indicated that congressional support for the TPP would be jeopardized if US negotiators accept anything less than elimination of all trade barriers to US ag products.

Currently, Japan is demanding special treatment for its ag sector – including exemption from tariff elimination for certain products, including pork.

Darci Vetter, chief agricultural negotiator for the office of the US Trade Representative says even though Japan has one of the most protected agricultural markets in the world – they are an incredibly important business partner.  “But with all the Economic Partnership Agreements, that is what Japan calls their Free Trade Agreements with other countries, almost all of those products were excluded from consideration,” she says.  “In joining the Trans Pacific Partnership – Japan agreed that there would be no product exclusions.  So every product is on the table.”

Vetter says, because Japan has never done this before – the USTR office is going through each one of the products individually, trying to ensure that they get the best deal possible – making the process very slow.

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