Turn on the TV and you can barely escape the acronym TPP.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other countries that’s currently being negotiated. Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are deriding the TPP, saying it’s a bum deal that will hurt the U.S. economy and especially low-wage workers.
But if you venture into the Midwest and ask a farmer about the TPP, you’re likely to get a different answer.
“This pending TPP trade negotiation, to me, is hugely important for agricultural commodities, but specifically for beef,” says Mike John, a cattle rancher in Huntsville, Mo. He’s one of many Midwest farmers and ranchers who are bucking the political trend to dog the TPP.
A coalition of more than 200 agriculture groups recently drafted an open letter urging congressional leaders to approve the TPP, saying the trade deal will help U.S. farmers stay competitive in an increasingly crowded world market.
And what if the US does not ratify?
Binfield says if the U.S. doesn’t pass the TPP, countries like Australia and New Zealand could make their own deals with each other, excluding the U.S. That could mean less trade access overall for U.S. producers.
But there’s another issue casting a long shadow over TPP negotiations: China. China is not a part of the trade deal. But pro-TPP interests say agreements like this one prevent China from setting global trade rules in its own interest.
Binfield says in the overall strategy, the U.S. wants to make sure China – which is a massive economic power – doesn’t have the chance to dictate the trade rules for Asia. The U.S. wants to set the trade standards.
I’ve been told that what might happen could be fascinating.
If the US does not ratify, then Japan and Canada will only stay in if there is a major economy as part of it.
Who could that be? China!
That would be a brilliant political move. China steps in and says we’ll sign TPP, and then you get a trade agreement with all 11 countries, China and no US.