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Cattle groups outline hopes for final TPP agreement

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An alliance of cattlemen representing Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. has signed a letter in support of a comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance Joint Communique outlines core principles to ensure the TPP negotiations fulfill the promise of a high-quality agreement that can serve as a standard for future trade agreements.

According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the agreement is based on 10 core principles, ensuring any agreement must be comprehensive and must eliminate all tariffs and market access barriers, while emphasizing the importance of truly free trade.

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association President Martin Unrau says working to a achieve a final TPP without product exclusions, especially in agriculture, and which also eliminates tariffs and other market access barriers in the Pacific Rim, is a goal worth striving for.

Cattle Council President Andrew Ogilvie of South Australia says it’s important to facilitate the open trade of food around the world if the collective global beef industry is going to feed a growing population. By removing trade barriers and tariffs to create fair and open access for all nations, Ogilvie says the world’s population will have equal opportunity to a reliable and safe food supply without trade barriers inflating the cost of that food.

The agreement also relies on risk-based scientific decision making based on international science-based standards; NCBA President Scott George says his group is a strong supporter of this agreement and others like it on the grounds they increase market access and provide stable export markets based on internationally recognized scientific standards. With 96% of the global population living outside the U.S., he says it’s essential to take measures to enable trade and expand market access to stimulate the economy and feed a growing global population.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance hopes the negotiating countries will push for arrangements where beef producers are all treated the same. Beef and Lamb New Zealand Chairman Mike Peterson says the TPP needs to both address non-tariff barriers and be enforceable. Petersen says the more that international counterpart organizations can work together on these trade issues, the more likely it is to result in a win-win scenario.

FNBA represents producers from countries that account for fully 1/3 of global beef production and roughly 1/2 of global beef exports.