Officials Reach Deal on Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Mon. October 5th, 2015 - by Jessica Donnel

UNITED STATES - The long-debated 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal has finally been reached, potentially strengthening trade relations between around 40 percent of the world’s economy.

TPP, as explained by the U.S. Trade Office

According to the USDA, the TPP would eliminate or significantly reduce tariffs on American products and deter non-science based sanitary and phytosanitary barriers that have put American agriculture at a disadvantage in TPP countries in the past. 

Tom Vilsack, United States Agriculture Secretary“An agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations provides a more level playing field in trade for American farmers,” explained U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a released statement. “Despite these past barriers, countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership currently account for up to 42 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $63 billion. Thanks to this agreement and its removal of unfair trade barriers, American agricultural exports to the region will expand even further, particularly exports of meat, poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, oilseeds, cotton and processed products.” 

The twelve countries that will be affected by the TPP are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam. 

If ratified, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be the largest pact governing international commerce in more than two decades, according to Bloomberg, encompassing 40 percent of the world’s economic output. President Obama released a statement saying the trade pact would eliminate more than 18,000 taxes on U.S. products and includes enforceable labor and environmental standards. 

Graphic credited to The New York Times

"Failing to grasp this opportunity would be a mistake: worse than just losing out on potential gains, our producers would fall behind other countries that are negotiating their own preferential arrangements in TPP countries,” continued Vilsack. “We are committed to working with Congress within the framework of the recently-passed Trade Promotion Authority to obtain a strong bipartisan understanding of and support for this historic trade deal that benefits farmers, ranchers, and all those who live, work and raise families in rural communities. 

The deal has not been without opposition, however. Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have been the most vocal in their opposition to the deal, saying it would favor corporations and will undercut U.S. wages.

Congress will now have at least 90 days to review and officially approve the deal.