April 24 - Strong leadership by U.S. government officials in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations will yield positive results for American agriculture, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress.
Bob Hanson, president of Montana Farm Bureau and an AFBF board member, testified before the Senate Finance Committee regarding the Asia-Pacific region, which holds great promise for U.S. agriculture and its role as the food supplier for Americans and the world.
“The major issue in trade now for the Asia-Pacific region is progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the addition of Japan to these talks,” Hanson said. “The aim of the negotiations is to reach a comprehensive, high-standard agreement that will improve the conditions of trade between the participating countries, which currently include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States,” he explained.
Japan is the United States’ fourth-largest agricultural export destination, with $13.5 billion in sales in 2012.
“While Japan is a top market for U.S. agricultural exports of wheat, corn, soybeans, beef and pork, it also has many restrictive policies in place that inhibit U.S. agricultural imports, such as substantial tariffs on dairy, horticulture, rice and other products, along with various sanitary and phytosanitary barriers,” Hanson said.
Hanson concluded his testimony by urging Congress to take a strong leadership role in the TPP negotiations, especially regarding the addition of Japan to the talks.