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Japan Allowed to Enter Trans-Pacific Trade Talks
USAgNet - 04/15/2013

The Obama administration has agreed to accept Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for a combined 30 percent of global GDP. Japan already has free trade agreements with seven of the 11 TPP countries: Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

"The addition of Japan to the negotiations will exponentially increase the importance of the TPP to pork producers and to other sectors of the U.S. economy," said Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn. "Japan's entry into the trade talks will spur interest in the TPP among other countries in Asia and Latin America, and it will signal to other nations that efforts to negotiate more open and transparent trading arrangements will continue, even as multilateral efforts to do so are stymied."

Japan's economy is second only to China's in the region, and it is the fourth largest U.S. agricultural export market overall. U.S. food and agricultural exports to Japan in 2012 totaled $13.5 billion. Japan is the top value export market for U.S. pork, accounting for almost $2 billion in 2012 sales.

"With Japan in it, TPP is the single most important trade negotiation ever for U.S. pork and many other U.S. agricultural products," Spronk said. "We estimate that a South Korea-Colombia-type outcome for U.S. pork in the TPP negotiation - meaning the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers - will create 27,000 direct and indirect pork industry jobs in the United States.

The National Pork Producers Council says it looks forward to working closely with the administration and Congress to fashion an agreement that U.S. pork producers can strongly endorse.

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