The proposed agreement involves 12 countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, New Zealand and the US.
We spoke to Gina Tumbarello, director of international policy and trade, at the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) during IPPE in Atlanta last week to hear what the trade deal will mean for US feed manufacturers.
“We’ve seen the final text, so the next step here is for each individual country to go through their individual processes to get it ratified,” she said. “Right now, in the US, we’re waiting for Congress to give their approval on the TPP agreement.”
There is a push to have the TPP approval completed before President Obama leaves office, she told us. “We’re optimistic about something happening in 2016, but again, it is challenging - it being an election year,” she added.
If approved, the deal would offer several benefits to feed manufacturers, said Tumbarello, including reducing some tariffs on feed and feed ingredients.
“Because the US already has six existing trade agreements with these partners, 90% of the tariff lines are already at zero, but there will be some benefit there,” she said.
Additionally, the deal would offer tariff reduction on related items, like livestock, poultry and dairy products, she said. Reductions to tariffs covering those areas are expected to mean a greater demand for US feed and feed ingredients.
“The agreement will implement a science-based system for food safety that will reduce the non-science-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures that are currently restricting trade and market access in that region,” she said. “We’re really going to see countries being held to a higher standard on those issues, to ensure that they’re based on science, that they aren’t being used to restrict trade, but used to ensure that products are healthy, and safe and don’t pose a hazard to human health or animals.”
The proposed deal is also the first of its kind to include a discussion about biotechnology, said Tumbarello. The deal is a positive step that emphasizes the role of transparency in the approval process for such products.
“It also establishes a working group to address issues related to biotechnology,” she said. “We’re hoping that the working group will serve as a positive platform to have greater discourse on issues such as LLP [low level presence].”
It also may play a role in the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), she added.
In addition to final approval of the TPP agreement, producers and feed manufacturers also are keeping an eye on talks around TTIP, said Tumbarello.
That partnership seeks to create an accord between the US and the European Union.
“With the current election year, there is a lot of pressure to conclude the TTIP negotiations before the end of the year, before [President] Obama actually leaves office,” she said. “With that, there are some concerns that some components of the originally thought scope of the TTIP agreement might get left behind, or put to the side for future negotiations.”