U.S. Ag Watching TPP Trade Going Down…

Apr 23, 2021

While eleven countries are swapping goodies via the Comprehensive and Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), several U.S. ag groups are longingly looking across the pond and saying, take us back.”

Refresher: Yep, it’s that TPP. When the U.S. withdrew from the trade agreement in early 2017, the other partnering nations basically said, “Fine, be that way,” and plowed ahead, creating a longer acronym just for kicks.

But now, some groups, including the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), are saying that U.S. farmers are missing out.

Michael Dykes, IDFA’s CEO, put it this way: “Members of that TPP, or CPTPP…are enjoying ratcheting down tariffs. We’re not enjoying those.

First things first: To get to the TPP, all routes must pass through the TPA. The Trade Promotion Authority law gives the executive branch carte blanche authority to negotiate trade deals, requiring only an up or down vote from Congress. The problem? TPA expires on July 1.

Friends in high places: At a recent trade conference, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack gave TPA the nod — urging Congress to “get serious about resuming and extending” the legislation.

Oh, and this: Vilsack also noted that U.S. ag would benefit from and should consider joining the CPTPP (**and the crowd goes wild**).

Where this goes: There’s a long road ahead, but noting Vilsack’s positive relationship with U.S. Trade Rep Katherine Tai, fingers are crossed that American agriculture gets an invite back to the club.