On Tuesday of this week, several Iowa Corn Growers Association members descended upon the halls of Congress by foot and electronically through a “virtual fly-in” urging their elected officials to vote in favor of the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. If finalized, the TPP will stand as a landmark accord encompassing 40% of global trade to the Asia-Pacific region.
The virtual fly-in provides Iowa farmers the opportunity to send messages directly to members of Congress expressing what the acceptance of the TPP will mean to U.S. agricultural exports and why this agreement needs to be completed this year.
“TPP will increase U.S. market access and set high-standard rules for trade in the region,” says Duane Aistrope, a farmer from Randolph in southwest Iowa. He chairs ICGA’s corn exports and grain trade committee. “The TPP represents a top federal legislative priority for our organization. Iowa Corn farmer-leaders along with the National Corn Growers Association met with lawmakers this week asking them to vote in favor of the trade agreement. Not only did we urge their support for TPP, but we asked legislators to talk with party leadership about passing it before the end of the year.”
Every $1 in corn exports generates over $3 in U.S. business
Corn signifies one of the major drivers of the U.S. economy as it can be exported in the form of feed, fuel and value-added meat products. Exports of corn and corn products added $4.7 billion in value to Iowa’s economy in 2014, according to an Informa Economics study commissioned by the National Corn Growers Association. Additionally, the study found that every $1 in exports of grains and grain products generates an additional $3.23 in business sales across the U.S. The positive economic effects of corn exports benefit not only agriculture, but also wholesale trade, real estate, oil and natural gas production, and the banking and financial industries.
“The strength of the U.S. dollar has created increased competition for U.S. exports, and we need every advantage we can get,” says Aistrope. “The TPP will help drive farm income with higher commodity prices for all farmers, generate rural economic activity, and support local jobs. It’s so important, both myself and fellow ICGA members have traveled to D.C. to talk directly with our elected officials. For those farmers busy back home, they can help by letting their member of Congress know they support passage of TPP now. You can do that by participating in our virtual call to action.”
You can participate in a “virtual fly-in” and help spread the word
Farmers can participate in the “virtual fly-in” by clicking here. This link will help you tell Congress why it needs to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement as soon as possible.
The estimates reported suggest the TPP will increase annual real incomes in the U.S. by $131 billion, or 0.51% of GDP, and annual exports by $357 billion, or 9.1% of exports, over baseline projections by 2030, when the agreement is nearly fully implemented. Given these benefits, delaying the launch of the TPP by even one year would represent a $94 billion permanent loss, or opportunity cost, to the U.S. economy.
According to USDA, the TPP benefits will include:
·While tariffs remain low for corn producers in TPP markets, the agreement will reduce U.S. meat tariffs creating new feed demand. Malaysia and Vietnam will eliminate tariffs within five years.
·Japan will eliminate duties on nearly 80% of tariff lines, including processed pork. Remaining tariffs will be cut and the “Gate Price” system will be significantly altered. Nearly all Malaysian tariffs will be locked in at zero and Vietnam tariffs will be eliminated.
·apan’s beef tariff, currently as high at 50%, will be reduced to 9%. Japan will eliminate duties on three fourths of tariff lines, including processed beef products. Vietnam will eliminate tariffs and Malaysia will lock tariffs in at zero.
The TPP agreement is expected to increase the output of all grain from the U.S. by 11%. Ag exports support more than 1 million American jobs. According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, every $1 billion in additional exports support an additional 7,600 jobs.
“If we do not lead by creating these type of opportunities for the U.S., our competitors will,” says Aistrope. “They have already begun to make alternative bi-lateral agreements that place their agricultural interests at an advantage. The time to act is now and we are asking Congress to do so.”
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is an 8,000-member strong grassroots-driven organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and lobbying on ag issues on behalf of its farmer members to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information visit iowacorn.org.