After years of work, U.S. negotiators on Monday announced agreement on a trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations that is expected to expand export opportunities for U.S. farmers. The 11 countries included in the deal, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP, already import some 42 percent of U.S. agricultural exports at a value of $63 billion, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.
The TPP is expected to give U.S. farmers easier access to markets in countries like Japan and Australia by reducing tariffs on products like beef and rice. The USDA says that reductions in tariffs negotiated as part of the deal are expected to expand trade by as much as $3 billion. Critics of the deal worry that it will result in the loss of U.S. jobs. Others say it has been negotiated largely in secret.
The details of the agreement haven’t been released yet, but David Salmonsen of the American Farm Bureau says he’s most eager to see what was worked out for U.S. dairy— one of the more contentious commodities debated during negotiations.
“Here you had multiple countries – the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia,” Salmonsen said, “all looking at either getting access or defending against granting too much access dealing with dairy products.”
Congress will have 90 days to review the agreement before voting on it.
Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld contributed to this report.