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Thursday, September 18, 2014
Top pork countries want tariffs eliminated in TPP
In an open letter to negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, organizations representing hog farmers in Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and the United States called for a “comprehensive, high-quality” agreement that eliminates tariffs on nearly all products, including pork.
The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.
Australian Pork Limited, the Canadian Pork Council, the Asociación Gremial de Productores de Cerdos de Chile, the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos and the National Pork Producers Council pointed out that the agreed-upon objectives of the TPP are: that it include trade in goods – including agricultural ones – services, investment, e-commerce, competition policy and intellectual property; that there be no product or sector exclusions, especially in agriculture; that all tariffs and other market access barriers such as Japan’s Gate Price be eliminated by the end of the negotiated transition period; and that all transition periods have “commercially meaningful” timeframes, which should be short and not back-loaded.
“Failure to achieve these objectives,” said the groups in their letter, “would call into question the oft-stated pledge to make TPP the gold standard for future FTAs and our ability to support the agreement.”
The pork organizations also expressed concern that the TPP market access objectives won’t be achieved if negotiators accept the current trade offer from Japan, which is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination of certain “sensitive” products, including pork.
“A broad exemption for Japan will encourage other TPP countries to withhold market access concessions, backtrack on current offers, lower the ambition on rules language and possibly unravel the entire agreement,” the groups said. “Additionally, it would set a dangerous precedent for the expansion of the TPP when other nations are likely to demand a Japan-type deal.”
The organizations called on their respective governments to “redouble their efforts to move Japan away from this untenable position” and, if it’s unwilling to open its markets fully to pork products, to conclude an agreement without Japan.