The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is strongly supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, with its president-elect calling the agreement “the biggest commercial opportunity ever.”

John Weber, NPPC president-elect, joined leaders from the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Grains Council and National Association of Wheat Growers during a November 11 press conference to stress how greatly TPP would benefit U.S. agriculture.

“America’s pork producers strongly and unequivocally support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and we will urge Congress to pass it quickly,” said Weber.

Negotiators from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam on October 5 approved the free-trade agreement, which now awaits congressional approval. The text of TPP was just released on November 5.

While Weber admits that no trade agreements are perfect, he stresses that TPP is the best one proposed to date.

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“We’re confident it will provide enormous new market opportunities for high-quality U.S. pork products,” said Weber. “It is by far the biggest commercial opportunity ever for U.S. pork production and U.S. pork producers like myself, and especially for those like my son and my young herdsman who will be the next generation of pork producers and will see the full potential of this agreement. This agreement will dramatically exceed all previous U.S. free trade agreements.”

Citing estimates from Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes, Weber said the U.S. will see exponential growth in pork exports to the other 11 TPP countries, and those new exports alone will create 10,000 U.S. jobs.

Other factors members of Congress need to keep in mind, Weber said, are that additional countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand have expressed an interest in joining TPP, and that competing nations are negotiating free-trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region that do not include the United States.

When the panel was asked about their views on the likelihood of TPP’s passage, Brett Blankenship, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, said he was optimistic it would be approved.