Congress decides to no-vote the Tran-Pacific Partnership agreement |

Congress decides to no-vote the Tran-Pacific Partnership agreement

Tractor spraying soybean field at spring
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After some push to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership to pass, or at least get a vote, Congress decided on a no-vote action regarding the agreement on Nov. 16.

The agriculture community had split opinions about TPP. The National Farmers Union was strongly against the current draft of the agreement.

“We’ve been hearing for months the discontent family farmers and ranchers and American workers have with TPP, and I’m pleased that their concerns have been heard. Sending TPP back to the drawing board is recognition that past trade agreement frameworks are not working for our nation’s family farmers and ranchers, rural communities, and consumers,” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union in a statement.

Not all organizations agreed with the action, however. The Dairy Farmers of America thought the agreement would have benefited the producers the organization represents.

“We are disappointed that Congressional leaders will not move TPP forward this year. The agreement offers the U.S. dairy sector opportunities to increase exports and strengthen our global presence. We will continue to communicate the importance of TPP to members of Congress and work for its passage in the 115th Congress,” said John Wilson, senior vice president and chief fluid marketing officer for Dairy Farmers of America.

There was a push to try and get TPP passed during the lame duck session, but the election of Donald Trump — who spoke against the agreement during his campaign — made some countries turn to a possible agreement with China instead, according to multiple reports.

“While momentum behind the TPP agreement has faded for the time being, the need for farmers to reach overseas markets has not,” said Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation. “Our organization will continue to tout the benefits to the U.S. dairy sector of access to foreign markets, as the future growth of American agriculture depends heavily on being able to reach overseas markets. NMPF will highlight how dairy exports are important both to farmers themselves, as well as to thousands of other workers in rural America whose jobs depend on a healthy and growing infrastructure for milk production, processing and marketing.”

The no-vote action on the agreement doesn’t mean it’s the end of talks, however. Johnson said in his statement the focus should move to a better agreement.

“We look forward to working with the new administration and the next Congress to promote fair trade solutions that work for American agriculture and the U.S. economy,” he said.❖

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