The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) welcomes the positive findings of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) report regarding the beneficial impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the U.S. economy, agriculture sector and meat and poultry industry, in particular. The report affirms the potential economic gains for American businesses and workers in a region that accounts for nearly 40 percent of global gross domestic product.
“The USITC’s report underscores the critical importance of TPP to the long-term economic stability and viability of the U.S. meat and poultry industry,” said NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter. “By facilitating trade and investment, as well as reducing or eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers on U.S. meat, poultry and animal products in the Asia-Pacific region, TPP will yield greater value for U.S. companies and products, will support high-paying American jobs and will enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in foreign markets.”
In 2015, 10 percent of U.S. beef production, 20 percent of pork production and 16 percent of poultry production was exported to foreign markets, according to USDA.
While TPP will augment the competitiveness of U.S. meat and poultry exports across all countries represented in the agreement, meat and poultry exports to high-tariff, high-demand markets, like Japan and Vietnam, will benefit significantly. For instance, under the agreement, Japan will reduce import tariffs on major cuts of fresh and frozen U.S. beef to nine percent over 15 years after the entry-into-force date, down from the current level of 38.5 percent. Meanwhile, tariffs on U.S. pork exports to Japan, which are as high as 20 percent, will be phased out over a number of years.
“TPP will strengthen our strategic relationships with trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region, while promoting transparency, driving innovation and supporting robust labor standards,” Carpenter added. “This trade agreement bolsters U.S. leadership in an important economic and geopolitical arena, and provides American businesses with greater confidence and certainty in the international marketplace.”
TPP will also strengthen exports of meat industry byproducts, such as hides and skins used to manufacture leather. In 2015, more than 90 percent of hides and skins, the largest, and most valuable, byproduct of the industry, were exported to foreign markets. Consequently, the agreement will enhance the competitiveness of U.S. products in key global leather and footwear manufacturing markets, thereby providing greater value and higher returns for U.S. businesses.
“TPP offers a tremendous export opportunity for U.S. hides, skins and value-added products, such as semi-processed ‘wet blue’ hides,” said U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association President Stephen Sothmann. “U.S. suppliers can capitalize on the increased market access for value-added products, particularly in Vietnam, which currently imports approximately 85 percent of its leather from China.”
“USITC’s report reveals that the U.S. cannot sit idly by while other TPP countries negotiate bilateral and regional free trade agreements that would place American exports, including meat and poultry exports, at a competitive disadvantage,” said Carpenter. “Failure to ratify TPP will result in lost market share for U.S. meat exports, and undermines the long-term position of the U.S. meat and poultry industry, which relies on identifying new markets and consumers.”
TPP is a regional trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The agreement, and the economic and trade opportunities it represents, also provides a foundation for trade expansion worldwide as it includes the prospect of adding other countries in the future, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand—all of which have expressed interest in joining the trade bloc.