10.02.15

Senators Call On Trade Ambassador to Defend American Sugar, Dairy Producers in TPP Negotiations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ongoing, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today led a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman pointing to the importance of strong trade outcomes for American sugar and dairy producers. The letter was signed by Senators Bennet, Brown, Gillibrand, Heitkamp, Klobuchar, and Leahy, members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Regarding dairy, the Senators said: “Without a comparably high level of engagement from all TPP partners on dairy, we risk undermining the competitiveness of U.S. producers and companies as our domestic market takes on more competition, especially from New Zealand. A situation whereby U.S. dairy export interests are not sufficiently addressed while disproportionately high levels of domestic access are granted would be unacceptable.”

The Senators pointed to the importance of strong sugar measures, saying: “It is our hope that when the twelve TPP countries, including Australia, reach a final agreement, it‎ will‎ promote the interests of the ‎thousands of American workers whose jobs depend on a vibrant sugar sector.”

The full text of the letter to Ambassador Froman follows:

Dear Ambassador Froman:

As you continue the final stages of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we are closely following a number of issues important to our constituents.  Today, as members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, we write to convey the importance of two issues in particular:  securing U.S. dairy and sugar interests for a TPP that works for American agriculture.

Balanced dairy market access is an issue that many Senators are following with great interest. Producers in our states are eager to seize new market opportunities in the Pacific Rim. At the same time, the TPP countries representing some of the greatest opportunities for dairy sector progress, particularly Japan and Canada, have been reluctant players on this issue over years of negotiations. Without a comparably high level of engagement from all TPP partners on dairy, we risk undermining the competitiveness of U.S. producers and companies as our domestic market takes on more competition, especially from New Zealand. A situation whereby U.S. dairy export interests are not sufficiently addressed while disproportionately high levels of domestic access are granted would be unacceptable.

In addition, we are very appreciative that you have closely engaged sugar producers over the full course of TPP negotiations. We understand that Australia has an interest in gaining additional access to the U.S. market, but ‎we believe any new access should be negotiated with an eye toward honoring the bipartisan efforts of Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill and upholding our domestic sugar policy‎‎. It is our hope that when the twelve TPP countries, including Australia, reach a final agreement, it‎ will‎ promote the interests of the ‎thousands of American workers whose jobs depend on a vibrant sugar sector.

Thank you for your consideration and the work you do on behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers.

 

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