WASHINGTON D.C. — The signing of the 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) today in New Zealand marks another step toward putting the world’s largest free trade agreement into action. National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcome this step and now call for rapid consideration and eventual ratification of TPP by Congress.
“Wheat growers are “all-in” regarding the promise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said NAWG President Brett Blankenship, a wheat farmer from Washtucna, Wa. “Expanding sales and market share are important pillars to help revitalize the wheat industry. Now, the ball is in Congress’ court and NAWG urges Congress to act quickly.”
A number of national and state wheat grower association members visited congressional offices this week to stress their support for the agreement. That is because wheat is the most export-dependent grain commodity grown by U.S. farmers. South Asia and Latin America represent growing, but highly competitive markets for our production. When implemented, TPP will have a significant positive impact on American wheat producers and on our country’s export supply industry.
“We need swift consideration and approval because every day that implementation is delayed, we face tariff disadvantages that undercut our ability to compete in established and new markets,” said USW Chairman Brian O’Toole, a wheat farmer from Crystal, N.D.
With duty-free access under its free trade agreement with Vietnam, for example, Australia currently enjoys a $12 to $15 per metric ton price advantage over U.S. wheat. U.S. wheat exports are at a tariff disadvantage in a number of other countries that want to join TPP but cannot apply for membership until after Congress and the governments of the 11 other countries ratify the agreement.
TPP is American agriculture’s platform for success in the expanding global market for years to come. As soon as possible after the implementing legislation is introduced, Congress should complete its reviews and take its up or down vote on TPP.
USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.
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