Jacob Bunge reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “U.S. agriculture officials warned Thursday that farmers, ranchers and food companies could lose out in the long-term if lawmakers shy away from pursuing big trade deals.
“While some hold out hope that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a wide-ranging trade bill championed by the Obama administration, could yet pass this year, concerns are growing that the U.S. elections may spur a more protectionist stance that could shrink U.S. exports of agricultural goods ranging from meat to grains and dairy.”
Darci Vetter, ambassador and chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, says the Trans-Pacific Partnership would open up growth opportunities for U.S. agriculture in Asian markets. She spoke with WSJ’s Rebecca Blumenstein at the WSJ Global Food Forum.
The Journal article noted that, “‘The issue of trade has become a political football, unfortunately,’ said Julie Maschhoff, co-owner and vice president of the Maschhoffs LLC, an Illinois pork producer.
“Ms. Maschhoff, speaking at the WSJ Global Food Forum in New York, estimated that about one-quarter of U.S. pork is exported, and trade agreements are critical to expanding those sales as U.S. pork production ramps up.”
Julie Maschhoff, co-owner and vice president of the Maschhoffs LLC, an Illinois pork producer, explains why trade agreements are critical for expanding markets for excess U.S. protein supplies. She spoke with WSJ’s Joanna Chung at the WSJ Global Food Forum in New York.
In his Journal article, Mr. Bunge noted that, “U.S. farmers and ranchers broadly have been supportive of TPP, seeing the chance to break into Japan’s lucrative rice market for the first time, and potentially securing significant reductions in tariffs for markets in Southeast Asia and Canada.”
“Darci Vetter, ambassador and chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, said at the WSJ [Global Food Forum] event that she saw ‘a narrow window’ to approve the Pacific trade agreement in the lame-duck session, following the November election. ‘I’m an eternal optimist,’ Ms. Vetter said, and implementing TPP would help keep the U.S. on ‘a level playing field’ with competing countries.”