Ag Groups Call Japan Offer on TPP Unacceptable

A coalition of agricultural organizations says the U.S. should not accept the offer Japan has made as part of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks. The groups - including the National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Meat Institute, National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates - say it would be a radical departure from previous U.S. free trade agreements and set an unacceptable precedent for future trade deals. Japan wants to exempt 586 tariff lines - or 11-percent of its tariff schedule - from tariff elimination. The coalition notes only 233 tariff lines were exempted from tariff elimination in the 17 other FTAs the U.S. has concluded this century. For the TPP to be a high-standard, 21st Century agreement - NPPC Vice President and International Trade Counsel Nick Giordano says Japan's deal on market access should exceed the deal South Korea and other U.S. FTA partners made this century with the United States. If the U.S. gives in to the demands of Japan - Giordano says it's not difficult to envision other trading partners asking for exemptions on non-agricultural products. He adds that other TPP countries are likely to pull back their sensitive products if Japan is permitted to shield a massive number of tariff lines from tariff elimination. According to Giordano - the U.S. must reject Japan's offer and insist it do what all other TPP nations are willing to do - eliminate all tariffs.

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