US trade representative: TPP inaction ‘alarming’

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

NCBA has asked for urgent action on the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal
NCBA has asked for urgent action on the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Related tags: Beef exports, International trade, Beef

US trade representative Michael Froman used his keynote speech at the National Cattlemen‘s Beef Association (NCBA) annual policy conference to bang the drum for action on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

In a speech on Wednesday 13 April, he spoke of the need to act swiftly on the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal to keep US beef globally competitive.

“For the past seven years, the Obama Administration has worked together with NCBA to expand export markets for American beef and cattle,”​ said Froman in his address yesterday.

“In that time, US beef exports have more than doubled, rising from $3.1 billion to $6.3bn last year. However we have more work to do together – most especially, guaranteeing that American ranchers and farmers across this country see the full economic gains the TPP will mean for them and their communities.”

Froman said that two-thirds of the world’s middle class population would reside on the Asian continent by 2030. Exports of American beef into countries in the TPP deal, like Japan, face tariffs as high as 50% and this is potentially damaging to the industry.

Once TPP is operational, the deal will cut over 18,000 foreign taxes on US beef exports and will give the American beef farmers market access to one of the world’s fast-growing regions. The deal would result in an increased cash receipt for beef exports, likely to rise by $1.14bn, according to Froman. “With these benefits at hand, the cost of inaction is alarming,”​ he added.

The message from one of Barack Obama’s trusted advisors was echoed by the NCBA’s vice president, Kevin Kester, who said the US had to continue to remain competitive in the Asia Pacific region.

“The US cattle industry relies on international trade to add value and stabilise markets,”​ said Kester. “Global consumers demand high quality US beef muscle cuts, but exports are especially critical in adding value to otherwise undervalued cuts such as variety meats and offal.

“While they have little value domestically, cuts such as tongue and tripe, fetch premiums in the Asia and Pacific Rim markets. There are no other global markets that can absorb that demand if we cannot remain competitive in the Pacific.”

Related topics: Meat

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