A breakdown in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last week is a good news/bad news situation for the National Pork Producers Council.
“The Japanese left the meeting, so the TPP continues at an impasse,” said NPPC Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano. “From NPPC’s vantage point, we’d rather there be no deal than a bad deal for pork producers.”
At the same time, Giordano says NPPC is disappointed in Japan’s continuing rejection of the fundamental terms of a successful TPP agreement, as agreed upon by leaders of all participating TPP nations prior to Japan’s entry into the negotiations last year. “Japan was not a founding member,” said Giordano. “Japan’s position is out of step with the vision of the trade ministers when they launched TPP.”
Japan continues to demand exemptions from tariff elimination for a number of agricultural products, declaring pork, dairy, beef, wheat, barley, sugar and rice are “sacred” and not open to free trade under the TPP. “They’re not sacred,” said Giordano. “The reality is, every country has import sensitive products, including the United States.”
Acquiescing to Japan’s demand would represent a radical departure from past U.S. trade policy, which has held to the principle that free trade agreements must cover virtually all trade between the parties. “This is a landscape-changing, legacy issue so NPPC is putting a lot of resources into protecting the interests of pork producers,” Giordano said.
Giorgano explains the issue in detail in this interview: Interview with Nic Giordano, NPPC