The Trans Pacific Partnership has been getting a lot attention lately from Capital Hill. USDA Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor has been traveling through the state, visiting with various ag groups drumming up support and answering questions.
TAYLOR: We are working as an administration, and this is obviously, TPP is the President's main priority on the domestic agenda, it is one of the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well and so we are working closely with Congress to make sure they know what's in the bill and answer any questions that Congress may have both in the House and the Senate. And then working to address any outstanding concerns they have.
She says they are working hard to make sure TPP passes this calendar year which with this being an election year and with a lame duck session might be a bit of a challenge.
TAYLOR: I think part of what we're trying to do and part of the reason I'm out here in Washington State meeting with a cross-section of agriculture producers here is to talk about what we are losing in the interim while we're waiting to pass this and it is costing our farmers and ranchers and agribusiness real dollars as our competitors are in these growing markets and able to outcompete our producers today because they have lower tariffs or lower taxes that they are paying.
Of course there are detractors to the TPP.
TAYLOR: This is a 21st century trade agreement. It is a different model than what we've used in the past. Twenty years ago when we negotiated free trade agreements, labor and environmental standards were really and after-thought. Today, they are core parts of the agreements; whole chapters that are fully enforceable and subject to dispute settlement. I think also it's so important to the ag economy.
And that's Washington Ag Today. I'm Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.