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The current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) proposal is ground breaking in terms of its scope, terms of trade and anticipated geopolitical impact, according to the U.S. Grains Council.
“The agreement will offer significant opportunities for new sales of U.S. agricultural products and could significantly alter current trade patterns as it expands and as new trade partners express interest in joining,” said USGC Chairman Terry Vinduska.
The TPP is currently a nine-country partnership that seeks to create a “new millennium model for trade,” said Vinduska. “Participants are in the process of working through the details of new market access offers and sectoral agreements to facilitate trade flows.”
Participating countries include the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, Peru, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The agreement is important enough to merit the attention of the Japanese government, who expressed interest in joining and included the issue on their national trade agenda, according to USGC sources.
For Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, such a move signals an unprecedented willingness by the government to open its country’s doors to imports, including agriculture. While there is opposition to the TPP within the Japanese agriculture industry, the government feels that in order to strengthen Japan’s national economy, it will need to deepen its economic relationships with emerging Asian countries and resource-rich Western nations.
This spells good news for U.S. producers as well as the United States and its relationship with Japan as a whole.
“In general, Japan’s participation in the TPP will produce a positive effect for the export of agricultural products from the United States to Japan,” said Thomas C. Dorr, USGC president and CEO.
Dorr said it is important to have Japan as a signatory to the TPP, adding that it is in the interest of the United States to continue to actively involve Japan on trade issues.
“In fiscal year 2010, Japan was the United States’ fourth-largest agricultural customer, importing $11.2 billion worth of products,” he said. “In light of this, it is important for the United States to maintain and increase its competitiveness in agricultural-related exports to Japan.”