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AFIA urges Congress to pass TPP

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has urged Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before President Barack Obama leaves the White House in January 2017.

US Senate in Washington D.C. Russell Senate Office Building.
US Senate in Washington D.C. Russell Senate Office Building.

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has urged Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before President Barack Obama leaves the White House in January 2017.

“As the dust settles from Tuesday’s election, it is important to not turn a blind eye to pending agricultural issues, specifically those affected by the Trans-Pacific Partnership. AFIA encourages Congress to work together in the lame duck session to pass this agreement, which is vital to expanding economic opportunities for numerous U.S. industries,” a statement from AFIA said.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed his administration would drop out of the TPP within his first 100 days in office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in August said the partnership is not likely to be ratified by Congress in 2016, and further discussion would likely be put off until after a new president is elected. In September, one country that is part of the TPP, Vietnam, delayed discussing the deal in its National Assembly until 2017.

“The future growth of the feed industry – both direct feed and ingredient exports and the increased overseas sale of U.S. livestock, poultry and dairy products – greatly depends on international trade. Free trade agreements like TPP can reduce barriers to trade, thereby opening international markets and allowing for a level playing field, and expand U.S. job opportunities here at home,” AFIA said. “This deal can make a difference for the U.S. feed industry and agriculture as a whole, and for U.S. businesses across the board. AFIA cannot urge Congress and the Obama administration enough; finalize TPP to ensure that the U.S. is leading the global trade agenda, can compete internationally and does not continue to lose market share to competition.”

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said if TPP’s ratification is delayed by a single year, the U.S. economy would take about a $94 billion hit.

Public opinion

In discussing an August poll that showed the majority of voters support fair trade, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said: “Most Americans support free trade, and most farmers do, too. Exports account for almost a quarter of American farm receipts, so opposing fair trade agreements like TPP doesn’t make a lot of sense to rural America.”

“Most trade deals start out with loud opposition, only to fade away once the details become known,” Duvall said. “We are convinced TPP is no different: The more people know, the more they will support this vitally important agreement.”

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