U.S. agriculture has a lot to gain from trade, was the central message Ambassador Darci Vetter, chief agricultural negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, had for workshop attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 97th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.
Vetter's conversation with farmers and ranchers focused on the advantages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and how its passage is essential to opening new markets for U.S. farmers.
'The TPP is an agreement that unites 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific in a comprehensive trade agreement, with 40 percent of global gross domestic production on the table,' Vetter said. 'It is one of the largest, and the highest standard, trade deals in history.'
U.S. agriculture already has deep roots in the area involved in the TTP with 42 percent of U.S. agriculture products being shipped to the area. Vetter contended that this region will only continue to grow in importance. The key to gaining a competitive foothold is to reduce or eliminate tariffs.
'This Asian-Pacific region is one of the most dynamic regions in terms of population growth, but also income growth in that population,' Vetter explained. 'By 2030, 66 percent of the world's middle class will be in Asia, and 59 percent of middle classes purchasing power will be from this region. What we want to do now is to cement that preferential trade access to those economies and become their partners of choice as they grow.'
Vetter encouraged attendees to visit ustr.gov/tpp/, where the entire TPP proposal has been posted. The website also has summaries of the proposal along with infographics on how TPP will affect individual commodities and states.