U.S. To Negotiate Entry Into ‘P4’ Trade Pact

September 22, 2009

Contact: Dave Warner 202-347-3600

Washington, September 22, 2008 – The National Pork Producers Council today hailed the announcement by the Bush administration that it will begin negotiations to join the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement between Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei.

The United States in March began talks with the so-called Pacific 4, or P4, countries on investment and financial services as a precursor to possible U.S. membership in the regional free trade agreement. The FTA between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore went into effect in 2006. It includes an accession clause that allows other nations to join the agreement. Many anticipate that the Trans-Pacific arrangement will be the foundation upon which an Asia-Pacific free trade region can be built.

“This is an important step toward maintaining and expanding U.S. pork exports to the Asia-Pacific region,” said NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from Canal Winchester, Ohio. “We look forward to the resolution of our market access issues with New Zealand and to the eventual accession of new nations to the agreement.”

“The nations of the Asia-Pacific region are negotiating a patchwork of trade agreements at a staggering pace that threaten to undermine U.S. exports and U.S. jobs and to diminish U.S. influence in the region,” said Nick Giordano, NPPC’s vice president and international trade counsel. “This new trade initiative will result in the negotiation of a high-standard, comprehensive agreement that can serve as the basis for an Asia-Pacific free trade region.”

New and expanded market access through trade agreements has been the most important catalyst for increasing U.S. pork exports. Since the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 1989, exports of U.S. pork products have grown to more than $3.1 billion in 2007 from $394 million.

Increased pork exports resulting from trade agreements are made possible in part because of the effective working relationship between NPPC and the National Pork Checkoff Board and their shared goal of increasing U.S. pork exports.

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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 67,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org