The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is asking for a swift conclusion to the TTP negotiations as the United States gears up for a meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministers.
“Cattlemen and women have high expectations for the TPP as a true 21st century agreement, eliminating tariff and non-tariff trade barriers across 12 member countries,” said Philip Ellis, NCBA president. “We are encouraged by reports of a ministerial meeting this week in Atlanta and urge our negotiators to work quickly to bring this agreement to conclusion. Every day that goes by without a comprehensive agreement erodes our market share in these member countries and it is imperative that our negotiators find common ground.”
Japan is currently the top export market for U.S. beef, totaling $1.6 billion in 2014, even with a 38.5 percent tariff rate. One of the leading competitors for Japanese consumers is Australia. Last year Australia and Japan signed the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement that phases down the tariff on beef imports over 15 years and removes a 50 percent snapback tariff on Australian beef. This agreement gives Australia a competitive advantage and as a result Australia is taking market share away from U.S. beef. The Trans-Pacific Partnership will put U.S. beef producers on a level playing field with Australian beef producers.
“This is why agriculture cannot afford to delay action any longer,” said Ellis. “Other nations are actively pursuing individual trade agreements to benefit their producers. The U.S. is already one of the most open markets in the world and if we do not act to expand new market opportunities in these growing economies, our cattle producers will be severely disadvantaged.”
The United States announced its intention to participate in the TPP negotiations in November 2009.