Ranchers need trade — TPP & TPA

By Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

TPP and TPA have caused quite a stir lately. Don’t mistake their impact by the size of their abbreviations. Each set of three letters represents huge possibilities for Oregon ranchers and agriculture.

TPP stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership and TPA stands for Trade Promotion Authority. Will Wise, CEO of the Oregon Beef Council, said, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership will deal with some extremely high tariffs facing Oregon beef exports.” Currently, Oregon beef with a destination of Japan faces a 38.5 percent tariff. “If we could eliminate this tariff barrier through TPP, we would substantially increase our exports to Japan, which would increase the bottom line for every Oregon beef producer,” Wise said. Japan is just one example of what TPP and TPA could open up for Oregon producers.

Jerome Rosa, executive director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, believes the international trade bills will open up larger marketing opportunities for Oregon ranchers. “A large percent of Oregon products are exported,” he said. “It costs less to get our products to Japan than it does to the other side of the Mississippi.” He was able to have a brief conversation with President Obama when he visited Oregon earlier this May. Rosa said the President told him, “We need to support Ron Wyden on TPP and TPA.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association President, Ray Sessler, confirms that the international trade bills are indeed a good thing for Oregon ranchers. “The passage of TPP and TPA will allow Oregon agriculture to blossom more than it already does. It will benefit ranching specifically by providing additional, unique beef-trade opportunities with Japan and other Pacific Rim countries. This is a rare chance to share Oregon’s high quality beef with other countries,” Sessler said.

Oregon Farm Bureau’s Director of National Affairs, Gail Greenman, sees that the two bills could benefit not only Oregon ranching, but Oregon agriculture in general. “Oregon produces the best agricultural commodities in the world. Oregon exports 80 percent of the agricultural products it produces and half of that goes outside the United States, the majority of it to Asia and countries in TPP,” She said. Some of the exports Oregon ships are beef, wheat, wine, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. “Well-crafted trade agreements with Asian and European countries will allow farmers and ranchers to compete on a level playing field with overseas competitors,” Greenman said.

While TPP will open up a whole new world of global trade, it needs TPA to pass in order to be efficiently implemented. It is important that those involved in Oregon agriculture understand the basics of the bills and support them. Wise notes, “TPA is probably the only way that TPP can be implemented to help our farmers and ranchers. Fast Track, (TPA), should be supported by all Oregon producers if they want to see this trade agreement realized and their profits thereby increased.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

By Kayli Hanley

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