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Members Raise Concerns Over Agriculture Market Access in TPP

July 30, 2014

Washington, DC – Today, House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Ranking Member Charles Rangel (D-NY), along with 138 other Members, sent a letter to President Obama stating their concerns over the status of the agriculture market access negotiations with Japan and Canada in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, in particular the effort by these countries to exempt numerous tariff lines from complete elimination with the United States.

The full letter is below.


Dear President Obama:

We write to express our deep concern over Japan’s current market access offer within the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.  When Japan joined these negotiations, it agreed that the elimination of tariffs is a key feature of the agreement, as announced by TPP leaders on November 12, 2011.  Unfortunately, Japan’s current position falls far short of acceptability. 

Specifically, Japan is seeking to exempt numerous tariff lines from complete elimination with the United States.  If accepted, this unprecedented and objectionable offer would significantly limit access for U.S. farmers and ranchers to the Japanese market, and most likely, to other TPP countries as well.  Furthermore, caving to Japan’s demands would set a damaging precedent, compromising the U.S. negotiating position with future TPP members.  This result runs the significant risk that the EU will be encouraged to make unacceptably weak offers in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, undermining Congressional support.  In that same vein, we are also troubled by Canada’s lack of ambition, which is threatening a robust outcome for U.S. farmers.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership was envisioned as a high-standard, 21st-century trade agreement that would be a model for all future U.S. free trade agreements.  To realize this goal, we urge you to hold Japan and Canada to the same high standards as other TPP partners.  Otherwise, Congressional support for a final TPP agreement will be jeopardized. Indeed, we urge you to pursue the TPP negotiations without any country, including Japan, Canada, or others, that proves unwilling to open its market in accordance with these high standards.  We owe our farmers and ranchers the best deal possible.