By Mohammed Kandi, with agency report
An intensive effort to heighten the ambition of trade talks, as well as the move to conclude a 21st century trade agreement between agri-food producers and processor groups from Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand has been emphasised.
This is the position of participants at the on-going Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Hanoi, Vietnam, a statement by the TPP said.
The groups calling for an ambitious, comprehensive agreement through the TPP trade talks include the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the Australian National Farmers’ Federation, the Federated Farmers of New Zealand, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
It also noted: “Together, they represent hundreds of thousands of farmers, producers, processors and exporters with millions of employees across the TPP region. These groups remain united in support of a successful conclusion of the negotiations.”
It added: “Strong and diversified export markets across the TPP region will help ensure that farmers, producers and processors can continue to grow and be prosperous.”
Brent Finlay, president of the Australian National Farmers’ Federation said, “Agriculture needs to be at the heart of a TPP agreement and will be one of the sectors that can deliver commercially meaningful trade gains from entry into force for our economies.”
He added: “It is critically important that as these trade talks progress in the next week, the views of the farm and agribusiness sectors are clear in the minds of negotiators.”
The TPP region represents 40 per cent of world trade and has substantial global economic significance, and is not just a burgeoning market but also an integral part of global value chains.
Also speaking, Lisa Skierka, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, said “The growth of our countries’ economies and the support of jobs—which a successful TPP will help foster—are top priorities for the agriculture and agri-food sectors across the region.”
Skierka added that, “The TPP has the potential to improve the competitiveness of our economies and enhance regional supply chains by permitting the production, processing and movement of products and ingredients among TPP countries where competitive advantages exist. Without a plurilateral agreement, the TPP could actually reduce the competitiveness of exporters if some TPP members provide greater market access to some countries than to others.”
Trade among TPP partners was more than $2 trillion in 2012. Eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers among the member countries could help increase sales of agricultural products in the TPP market of 792 million consumers.