Will Agriculture Stall the TPP?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is currently being negotiated between the United States and 11 other countries. With Japan entering into the talks last week, the issue of agriculture is once again significant within the TPP. Much like the failed Doha Round of negotiations within the WTO and the collapsed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks surrounding trade in agriculture, could the issue of agriculture stall the TPP?

Of course, only time will tell whether or not the TPP talks will conclude successfully. However, agriculture is also an important issue in the TPP as with  the WTO and the FTAA.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Agriculture

Japan’s entry into the TPP talks last week has also been met with resistance of its farmers. The farmers’ concerns have not fallen on deaf ears. On Monday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said:

Farming has to be the foundation of a country…Discarding (agriculture) based only on economic profit-and-loss arithmetic could lead Japan to lose its identity

Japan will have a balancing act of protecting its farmers while not violating the final terms of the TPP.

Trade tensions broke out between tomato growers in Florida and Mexico over concerns that Mexico was selling its tomatoes below market value to appear competitive. U.S. tomato producers urged the government to protect its industry. The United States and Mexico reached a deal that set a minimum wholesale price on the value of tomatoes so that tomato growers from both countries can compete on a level playing field. The media has described the deal as successfully avoiding a trade war between the two NAFTA and, now, TPP partners.

FTAA and WTO

The FTAA and WTO collapsed due to disagreements surrounding U.S. agricultural subsidies. The FTAA talks also fell apart over U.S. farm subsidies by its 2004 deadline. The Doha Round was not concluded by the Dec. 2005 deadline. As a matter of fact, there are still efforts to finalize the round.

Brief Recommendation

All partners will have to come to an agreement that will be beneficial to farmers but does not depend on protectionist and unfair trade practices.

 

Do you think that the issue of agriculture will stall the TPP talks?

 

Recommended reading:

Submission to the USTR in Support of a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – Discusses U.S. agricultural policy in addition to other TPP related issues

About Dr. Sarita D. Jackson

is the President and CEO of the Global Research Institute of International Trade, a think-tank/consulting firm that examines trade policies and their impact on domestic businesses. Prior to heading GRIIT, Dr. Jackson was a tenured associate professor of political science in North Carolina and worked as a trade policy consultant for an Arlington-based consulting firm. She has participated in trade policy projects and conducted research on free trade negotiations in Botswana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama. Dr. Jackson has also traveled to Chile and Argentina to study their political systems and economic integration policies.
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