In one of his first moves as President, Donald Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). By signing the order, President Trump says he seeks to negotiate trade deals with individual countries.
“We’re going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and taken companies out of our country,” Trump said while signing the order.
“We were not surprised that President Trump has officially withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. As we know, Congress was not likely to confirm the agreement in any case. But now is the time to move past anti-trade rhetoric and begin the process of building consensus for the key portions of the agreement that had been negotiated in the TPP,” Tom Stenzel, President & CEO of United Fresh Produce Association, said. “Both U.S. agriculture and U.S. consumers benefit from trade, and exports to the Asian Pacific countries are a critical opportunity for U.S. producers. Beyond that, the TPP was the first major agreement that began to build strong rules for countries to prevent putting up protectionist measures in the form of sanitary and phytosanitary barriers. Without this agreement, we fall back to an environment where countries can simply choose to block imports without scientific justification.”
Desmond O’Rourke, Publisher of the World Apple Report, said the TPP made it easier for U.S. agricultural exports in partner countries.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the TPP appears to be a step in the wrong direction for the U.S. economy, and for the agricultural and horticultural segments that are so dependent on trade with Asia,” he said. “Some major breakthroughs had been made in the TPP – for example, getting Japan to begin lowering its formidable barriers to U.S. agricultural exports. On the other hand, since the U.S. market for most agricultural and horticultural products already has few barriers, the TPP did not create any further hazards for U.S. agriculture.”
The ag industry now turns its eyes to the new administration to find a valuable replacement for market access.
“We encourage President Trump and his new Administration not just to withdraw from trade agreements, but to come to the table to renegotiate agricultural agreements as soon as possible,” Stenzel says. “Our potential trading partners won’t sit idly by, but will find other partners and leave the United States behind. Most importantly, America deserves real trade agreements that benefit both consumers and producers.”
O’Rourke echoes that sentiment.
“The goals of the TPP remain valid. The best we can hope for is that the Trump administration seeks similar goals in a replacement treaty for which they can claim authorship,” he says.