US to negotiate entry into 'P4' trade pact
The National Pork Producers Council has
hailed the Bush administration's announcement that it will begin negotiations to join
the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement between
Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei.
In March, the US began talks with the so-called Pacific 4, or P4, countries
on investment and financial services as a precursor to possible US membership in
the regional free trade agreement.
The FTA between Brunei, Chile, New
Zealand and Singapore went into effect in 2006. It includes an accession clause
that allows other nations to join the agreement. Many anticipate that the
Trans-Pacific arrangement will be the foundation upon which an Asia-Pacific free
trade region can be built.
â€œThis is an
important step toward maintaining and expanding US pork exports to the
Asia-Pacific region,â€ said NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from
Canal Winchester, Ohio. â€œWe look forward to the resolution of our market access
issues with New Zealand and to the eventual accession of new nations to the
â€œThe nations of the Asia-Pacific region are negotiating a
patchwork of trade agreements at a staggering pace that threaten to undermine US
exports and US jobs and to diminish US influence in the region,â€ said Nick
Giordano, NPPC's vice president and international trade counsel. â€œThis new trade
initiative will result in the negotiation of a high-standard, comprehensive
agreement that can serve as the basis for an Asia-Pacific free trade
New and expanded market
access through trade agreements has been the most important catalyst for
increasing US pork exports. Since the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement was
implemented in 1989, exports of US pork products have grown to more than $3.1
billion in 2007 from $394 million.
Increased pork exports resulting from
trade agreements are made possible in part because of the effective working
relationship between NPPC and the National Pork Checkoff Board and their shared
goal of increasing US pork exports.
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