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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Hosts TPP Roundtable

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) hosts a TPP roundtable in Denver. Also pictured (from left) are USMEF VP of Communications Joe Schuele and Robert Sakata, president of the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) hosts a TPP roundtable in Denver. Also pictured (from left) are USMEF VP of Communications Joe Schuele and Robert Sakata, president of the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association

On Oct. 9, USMEF participated in a roundtable discussion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hosted by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The meeting took place in Denver, with a strong turnout of state and national agricultural organizations. USMEF was represented by Joe Schuele, vice president of communications.

Vilsack highlighted the potential benefits of TPP for U.S. agriculture, but acknowledged that when the agreement is presented to Congress for ratification, the vote is likely to be very close.

“I am confident in saying that, on balance, U.S. agriculture is a net winner here,” he said.

Vilsack explained that the complexity of the U.S. economy demands that its negotiators focus on a broad range of industries, while some trading partners are able to maintain a much narrower focus. He cited the example of TPP participant New Zealand, which is concerned primarily with the agricultural provisions of TPP, with a particular focus on dairy trade.

He also noted that while tariff reductions are the primary gains achieved in TPP, the agreement also contains mechanisms for addressing sanitary and phytosanitary barriers that are not science-based.