With England's surprising pro-Brexit vote widely seen as a repudiation of globalization and America's two leading presidential candidates both voicing sharp criticism of existing trade agreements, a chill has fallen over the passage of any new trade proposals.
With England’s surprising pro-Brexit vote widely seen as a repudiation of globalization and America’s two leading presidential candidates both voicing sharp criticism of existing trade agreements, a chill has fallen over the passage of any new trade proposals.
Stalled and sitting on the sidelines is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country pact that if signed would represent the largest regional trade deal in history.
Even though there is a very narrow window left to get it ratified by Congress, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association continues to hold out hope, calling it one of the association’s top priorities.
There’s no “Plan B,” said NCBA president Tracy Brunner, a diversified cattleman from Ramona, Kansas, at NCBA’s summer conference in Denver.
“We are still 100 percent committed and focused on getting it passed,” he said.
Though support for TPP has been mixed even within the agriculture community, NCBA believes the agreement would make the U.S. more competitive with Australia in supplying beef to the valuable Japanese market.
NCBA’s vice president of governmental affairs, Colin Woodall, who is based in Washington, said the lack of an agreement is costing the U.S. at least $367,000 a day in lost beef sales to Japan.
Another supporter, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association immediate past president Bob Patterson, of Kim, is quick to emphasize TPP’s potential role in reducing China’s influence in the Pacific Rim.
“It’s a good deal, it’s not a perfect deal,” said Woodall during a recent meeting of NCBA’s international trade committee. “But one of our concerns about not passing TPP is that China will step in to fill that void. They have their own deal waiting to go if TPP fails.”
TPP is one of the few items on which NCBA and the Obama administration agree, but time is running out to capitalize on that before the next president is sworn into office.
“We think the lame duck session after the election is when we need to get this done, or there will be no other opportunity to do it,” Woodall said. “If we don’t get this done by the end of year, it’s doubtful we’ll get a vote on this thing. At that point, other countries may decide they just don’t want to wait on us.”