The United States pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, one year ago. Since then, the pact has moved toward ratification as TPP 11, with trading countries on the Pacific Rim still in, except for the U.S.
U.S. wheat growers are expressing concern that the end result of exiting the trade deal will put American wheat exports at a major disadvantage in sales to Japan, compared to Australia or Canada.
With Canada now on board, TPP 11 is scheduled for a March signing ceremony. All countries in the deal hope to have better trade agreements with Japan, now the key member of the group.
Ben Connor, director of policy for U.S. Wheat, says Japan imports 3.1 million metric tons of U.S. wheat every year. After full implementation of the new TPP, Japan’s tariff on Canadian and Australian wheat would drop $65 per ton.
“That would put U.S. wheat producers at a total price disadvantage of more than $200 million per year from TPP alone,” Conner said. “As the agricultural community warned when the President made the announcement, withdrawing from TPP was shortsighted and unnecessary, and now U.S. wheat farmers could take the hit.”
Gordon Stoner, National Association of Wheat Growers president, and a wheat grower from Outlook, Montana issued the following comments:
“If nothing else, this should serve as a rallying cry for farmers, ranchers and dairy producers calling for the new trade deals we were promised when the President walked away from TPP,” Stoner said. “The heat needs to be turned up on the administration and on trade negotiations with Japan. An already stressed agriculture sector needs the benefit of free and fair trade now.”