Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)
A large coalition of American food and agricultural groups is ramping up pressure on the US Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to prevent Australia and other nations from stealing export markets.
In a letter to US Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan and other congressional leaders, the 225 groups representing American farmers, ranchers and food companies said the TPP will help level the playing field for exports.
US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Tracy Brunner said without the TPP Australian beef producers have a 11 per cent tariff advantage over the US in Japan because of a bilateral trade agreement.
“That tax alone makes our beef less competitive and gives Australia’s beef producers a significant advantage that has allowed them to capture over $US100 million ($A132 million) in additional beef sales at the expense of US producers,” Mr Brunner said.
The TPP will cut the tariff rate on US beef in Japan from 38.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent and will continue to decrease over 16 years until it settles at nine per cent.
The National Association of Wheat Growers, US Apple Association, The Kraft Heinz Company, ConAgra Foods, Deere & Company and corn, grain, soybean, cheese, barley, beef, pork and poultry producers signed the letter.
The TPP has become a heated issue in the bitter US presidential race.
The food and agricultural groups want congress to sign off on it before US President Barack Obama, a supporter, leaves office in January next year.
The TPP nations are: Australia, the US, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.