Tug Boat with Barges on the Ohio River.  Barges are empty.  Cincinnati and bridges in the background.

Trade pact expected to boost demand for U.S. farm and food products

Buckeye Farm News

The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations have formally agreed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the biggest regional trade pact in history. TPP will boost demand for U.S. farm and food products among nearly 500 million consumers in Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

American Farm Bureau Federation is reviewing the 30 chapters of the agreement, which was seven years in the making, to guarantee it fulfills the promise of opening restricted markets for American businesses around the Pacific Rim. Results of that review will be made available near the end of 2015. State and commodity-specific fact sheets based on that analysis will then follow, according to AFBF.

“We hope the agreement will bring a more level playing field for farmers and ranchers by reducing tariffs and removing non-science based barriers to trade,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “The agreement covers markets that are expected to grow rapidly for decades to come. We expect to see increased access for our agricultural products, particularly some meats.”

Although the deal is done, President Barack Obama cannot sign the pact until 90 days after he officially announces his plan to do so. During that 90-day period, there will be a great deal of back and forth over the details between the White House and Congress, according to AFBF.

Congress earlier this year granted the president Trade Promotion Authority, which means lawmakers are allowed only a yes-or-no vote without amendments for trade agreements.

TOP 5 OHIO AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS

1. Soybeans

2. Feed & Fodder

3. Corn

4. Wheat

5. Pork

33,400 Ohio jobs supported by agricultural exports

$4.4 billion Annual value of Ohio agricultural exports

Soybeans

Tariffs are already low in TPP markets, but soybean producers will benefit from reduced meat tariffs that are expected to create new feed demand. Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs on soybean oil and soybean meal.

Corn

Tariffs are already low in TPP markets, but corn producers will benefit from reduced meat tariffs that are expected to create new feed demand. Malaysia and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs within five years.

Wheat

Japan will create new tariff-rate quotas for wheat and wheat products and eliminate existing tariffs for processed products such as cookies and crackers. Malaysia and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs on wheat and wheat products.

Pork

Japan will eliminate duties on nearly 80 percent of tariff lines, including processed pork. Remaining tariffs will be cut and the “Gate Price” system significantly altered. Nearly all Malaysian tariffs will be locked in at 0 percent and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs.

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.