At the round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place in Australia, agri-food producer and processor groups from Canada, Australia and New Zealand are calling for negotiators to maintain a high level of ambition in the trade talks, and to conclude a comprehensive trade agreement with equal access for competing products across the region.
The groups calling for an ambitious, comprehensive agreement through the TPP trade talks include the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the Australian National Farmers’ Federation and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. Representing hundreds of thousands of farmers, producers, processors and exporters with millions of employees across the TPP region, these groups remain united in support of an expedited and successful conclusion to the negotiations.
“The value of this agreement is reflected in the significant economic boost it offers to our countries,” said Lisa Skierka, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance. “However, in order for our agricultural sectors to benefit from these opportunities, we need to ensure that a plurilateral agreement is in place. If TPP members provide select market access to some countries over others, our regional supply chains may actually be worse off than they were before.”
Preferred access within the TPP region is seen as a key component of future economic success.
“Once implemented, the TPP has the potential for agriculture and agri-food businesses in the region to pursue new export opportunities, to diversify their operations and thus ultimately improve their competitiveness,” said Brent Finlay, president of the Australian National Farmers’ Federation. “This is the time to, work together in securing a high quality agreement which addresses trade barriers – both at and behind the border. Our economies and supply chains will all benefit from increased access to agricultural and agri-food commodities.”
With a total population of 792 million people, the TPP region is a burgeoning portion of the global economy—but one that lacks a comprehensive trade agreement. In fact, the region boasts a total GDP that comprises nearly 40 percent of the world’s economy.
“The agriculture sector needs the TPP to be in place in order to take advantage of the huge opportunities that would be afforded by it,” said Dr. William Rolleston, president of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. “We are calling for trade talks to progress this week, as the global value chain cannot continue to wait for commercially meaningful growth.”
A critical element of a truly plurilateral agreement is the comprehensive elimination of tariffs throughout the region.
Currently, there are 12 TPP negotiating parties: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. In 2012, trade among TPP partners was more than $2 trillion. This number is poised to increase provided that the TPP eliminates tariff and non-tariff barriers.The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the Australian National Farmers’ Federation and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand remain committed to the need for a plurilateral agreement, access to new market opportunities and the elimination of tariffs and other barriers in the TPP trade agreement.