CropLife America Joins Over 220 Food Groups in Letter Supporting TPP

WASHINGTON, DC – CropLife America (CLA) along with more than 220 food and agriculture-related organizations signed and sent a letter to Capitol Hill yesterday to show support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, among others, received the letter, which stated that the TPP will “level the playing field for U.S. exports and create new opportunities for us in the highly competitive Asia-Pacific region.” The crop protection industry specifically looks to trade agreements to:

  • Protect intellectual property rights;
  • Reduce and eliminate tariffs and other barriers to agricultural exports;
  • Open up access to new markets; and
  • Ensure that foreign regulations are based in science.

“Trade agreements such as the TPP are vital not only to industry but also to growers,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “By keeping our businesses competitive in the international market, we keep costs lower in the U.S. and enable growers to access the best available, most precise crop protection products. Beyond the farm, and perhaps even more importantly, lower costs for growers lead to lower prices at the grocery store and increased access to healthy food for all. TPP benefits everyone.”

The letter, posted online, states:

“On behalf of the farmers, ranchers, and other members of the U.S. food and agriculture industry, we express our support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We are thankful for the engagement and support of Congress throughout the negotiation process and ask that you continue this engagement to approve the TPP this year. If faithfully implemented, TPP will help level the playing field for U.S. exports and create new opportunities for us in the highly competitive Asia-Pacific region.

“The TPP is critical to the livelihood of the U.S. food and agriculture sector because it will create conditions that encourage economic growth and increased employment in rural areas and throughout the supply chain. Exports are fundamental to the success of the agricultural industry because 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States and 20 percent of U.S. farm income is from exports. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, TPP will boost annual net farm income in the United States by $4.4 billion. USDA estimates that every $1 billion of U.S. agricultural exports in 2014 provided approximately 7,550 American jobs throughout the economy. According to USDA, U.S. food and agricultural exports reached a record $150 billion in 2014, supporting 1,132,000 full-time civilian jobs, which included 808,000 jobs in the non-farm sector. The agricultural export surplus helped to offset some of the non-agricultural trade deficit.

“While some tariffs remain, the overall TPP agreement successfully tears down many tariff and non-tariff trade barriers that currently hinder U.S. competitiveness, and prevent us from meeting consumer demand for high-quality U.S. food and agricultural products throughout the Asia-Pacific region. TPP will allow us to be more competitive in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific market. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “At the end of the day, TPP is about opportunity. The agreement will advance U.S. economic interests in a critical region that accounts for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.”

“The TPP will not only remove barriers for our exports to 11 key Asia-Pacific countries, but it will also provide much needed leverage on future market access opportunities in potential TPP members such as

Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia. Furthermore, TPP provides high-standard trade rules, allowing the United States to lead in establishing market-driven and science-based terms of trade that will directly benefit the U.S. food and agriculture industry in our efforts to compete and thrive in this important economic region. If we do not lead, we will simply fall behind as our competitors aggressively work to establish alternative trade agreements that place their agricultural interests at an advantage. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, “Delaying the launch of TPP by even a year would represent a $94 billion permanent loss, or opportunity cost, to the U.S. economy.” With net farm income at its lowest level since 2002, the costs of inaction are too high for us to ignore. We must act now.

“The TPP presents a valuable opportunity for U.S. agriculture; one that we cannot afford to miss. TPP is important for the future of rural America, and we urge passage of TPP during this session of Congress.”

Michael Leary