Now that the U.S. has officially withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, agricultural groups are hoping the new Trump Administration will continue to look to the Asia-Pacific region as an opportunity for agricultural export market growth.
A total of 87 organizations and companies from the food and agriculture sector sent President Donald Trump a letter this week expressing eagerness to work with his Administration to expand access to markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Reducing and eliminating tariffs and other restrictive agricultural policies in this region will help American workers in our sector compete, creating an opportunity to supply Asian markets with high-quality food and agricultural goods," the letter states, adding that the food and agriculture sector supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs. The letter also points out that the U.S. food and beverage industry alone constitutes 12% of all U.S. manufacturing jobs, making it the largest employer in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
The letter notes that more than 95% of the agriculture industry's current and potential customers live outside the U.S., making increased access to international markets essential for future success. While many agricultural companies and organizations strongly supported the TPP negotiations, the letter was forward-looking and emphasized that future agreements can build on the valuable aspects of the TPP agreement.
"America's food and agricultural sector is poised to grow internationally, building upon its well-deserved reputation for high-quality products, trusted brands and constant innovation," the letter states. "Our ability to continue to create jobs and support economic growth in rural America depends on maintaining and increasing access to markets outside the United States through existing and future trade agreements.
"We hope your Administration will create such opportunities for our sector by deepening U.S. economic engagement in this critical region while responding to the Asia-only regional trade agreements being negotiated by our foreign competitors," the letter states. "We welcome an opportunity to work with your Administration to ensure that America's farmers, ranchers, processors and food companies do not fall behind our foreign peers in this vitally important economic region."
The complete letter can be read here.
More details on the importance of Asia-Pacific trade and its value to the U.S. food and agriculture industry is available here.