ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are very pleased that 140 members of Congress urged President Barack Obama this week to pursue a high standard, 21st Century Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
In a letter to the President, a bipartisan group of members expressed deep concern that Japan is seeking to exempt numerous tariff lines from complete tariff elimination under the agreement, including on wheat and wheat product imports. Allowing Japan or other TPP member countries to claim numerous exceptions for sensitive products opens the door for other countries to do the same, a situation that could unravel the talks and threaten the completion of a comprehensive agreement.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership was proposed as an ambitious model for all future U.S. free trade agreements. A weak TPP agreement would negatively affect our ability to reach acceptable agreements with the European Union in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.
USW and NAWG agree with the members of Congress who urged President Obama to hold Japan to the same high standards envisioned by other TPP partners. If Japan, Canada or other negotiating parties fail to provide meaningful agricultural market access in the agreement, we too believe TPP negotiations should be suspended with them until they are ready to conclude a truly comprehensive agreement.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS.
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is a federation of 22 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability.
Contact: Steve Mercer, Vice President of Communications, U.S. Wheat Associates, (703) 650-0251, firstname.lastname@example.org