Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 02/24/14

Senators Want Japan to Pony Up on TPP

I'm on the road, heading to San Antonio for Commodity Classic. I have some stops along the way at a farm and a USDA facility, but driving down I-35 from Dallas is a minor highway nightmare and I didn't even get to Austin tonight.

On to other things ...

A group of 18 senators has sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, asking him to negotiate a deal with Japan for better market access for U.S. agricultural product as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, issued a release stating that the letter was sent to coincide with talks this past weekend. The senators stated they were concerned that Japan has not made any offer to open up its market to more agricultural products as part of the TPP talks. Without such a deal, the Obama administration risks undermining its goal of increasing market access for agriculture with the TPP countries.

In other words, the senators want Japan to put something on the table.

As the senators wrote, "In previous trade negotiations, the United States requested and received full and comprehensive liberalization in the agricultural sector from both developed countries like Japan as well as developing countries. By requesting special treatment for its agricultural sector in the TPP, Japan may upset the careful balance of concessions that the eleven economies involved in the negotiations have achieved. If Japan continues to insist on protecting certain agricultural products, other countries with sensitivities in the agricultural sector may make similar demands."

The senators added, "The market access package that the Administration negotiates with Japan has the potential to support billions of dollars in future exports and hundreds of thousands of jobs. For this reason, we seek assurances from you that the U.S. will not close the TPP negotiations without an acceptable comprehensive agreement with Japan to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers in agriculture."

Signing onto the letter with Grassley and Michael Bennet of Colorado were Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Udall of Colorado, Pat Roberts of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John Thune of South Dakota, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, John Boozman of Arkansas, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Jerry Moran of Kansas.

The full letter can be read here: http://dld.bz/…

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Posted at 10:08PM CST 02/24/14 by Chris Clayton
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