Ag Groups Could Oppose TPP Deal
If Japan is included in a final Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement without agreeing to comprehensive trade liberalization - including elimination of tariffs on virtually all U.S. agricultural products - a coalition of agricultural organizations will likely oppose the deal. The 17 groups - led by the National Pork Producers Council - sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman Wednesday that said the unwillingness of Japanese negotiators to present a comprehensive offer on agricultural products is threatening to undermine the talks. Japan is demanding special treatment for its agriculture sector - including exclusion from the agreement of certain "sensitive" products. The letter pointed out that if Japan is allowed to claim exceptions for sensitive products - other TPP countries inevitably will demand the right to do the same. Approving of such an action - the groups wrote - would also affect future trade agreements - including the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership now being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union. According to the groups - if the U.S. can't reach an agreement with Japan that includes comprehensive liberalization in the agricultural sector - it should conclude a TPP deal without the Asian nation.