November 17, 2019

Trade Issues- Asia Pacific: A “Seamless Regional Economy”

Categories: Trade

Jennifer Epstein reported today at Politico that, “As President Barack Obama arrived in Bali, Indonesia, for two international summits, the White House on Thursday announced trade deals amounting to tens of billions of dollars for U.S. companies to sell aircraft and machinery to the Asia-Pacific region.

“Since the president embarked on his international trip late last week, he’s repeatedly stressed that the growing region is key to U.S. economic development and job creation.

“While at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu over the weekend, the president said it’s his ultimate goal to create a ‘seamless regional economy’ in the Pacific. The region, he said, is ‘a top priority because we’re not going to be able to put our folks back to work and grow our economy and expand opportunity unless the Asia Pacific region is also successful.’”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg news reported yesterday that, “U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that Tran-Pacific Partnership discussions need to be as ambitious and aggressive as possible in opening markets. Vietnam has an opportunity to exercise significant leadership in the negotiations, he said. Vilsack spoke in a briefing at the Hanoi University of Agriculture today.

“On Trans-Pacific Partnership discussions:

“‘The challenge here is for all of us engaged in this dialogue to be as ambitious and as aggressive as possible in terms of our willingness to lower tariffs and supports so that we do have a free flow of goods and services, and have that flow done in a fair and reasonable way.’”

The Bloomberg update added that, “On U.S. farm groups and TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] :

“‘I think the farm commodity groups that I have talked to are very supportive of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as multilateral and bilateral trading opportunities. I think that’s most recently displayed in the passage of three free trade agreements in Congress that were passed with the assistance of farm groups.  I think farm groups generally in the United States see trade as a positive and are always encouraging greater opportunities and they see TPP as an opportunity.’”

And David Bennett reported yesterday at the Delta Farm Press Online that, “A burgeoning trade relationship with Vietnam is largely due to USDA programs promoting U.S. agriculture. On Wednesday morning, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke to reporters from Vietnam following a day of meetings with government officials and trade ‘cooperators.’

“Vietnam, responsible for around $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion in agricultural exports, ‘is growing at a fairly significant rate. It’s now (the United States’) fifteenth (ranked) trading partner.’”

For more on Vilsack’s trip click here and here.

Keith Good

Farm Bill; Supercommittee; and, Land Values

Farm Bill

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom reported yesterday that, “Coalitions of northern and southern growers issued competing statements Tuesday on the structure of new programs that farm leaders on Capitol Hill are considering.

“Also Tuesday, a key Agriculture Department official said that the demise of direct payments and the creation of new commodity programs may mean the United States will have to notify the World Trade Organization that more of its farm programs should be classified in the amber box of trade-distorting payments.”