John Weber on Trade Issues

(Jamie) Were back! Let’s join Duane and John as they discuss trade agreements
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you again on AGam in Kansas, as we continue with activities in Kansas City at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting meeting with a chance to catch up with John Weber, President-elect of the National Pork Producers Council. And John, a lot of things that have been going on obviously from the Pork Producers Council side of things. Trade’s awfully important in making sure that we get free and fair access to our growers and producers, pretty important. (John) Absolutely important to the pork industry and we were very pleased to see TPP come to a closure between the 11 countries and now after seeing the details of TPP, we are going to be very supportive for U.S. pork producers as we enter into this agreement and we’ve got a tough sell with Congress but we’ll get ‘er done. (Duane) We think about some of the things that will play into that. Obviously there are those organizations that aren’t necessarily wanting to open trade to other countries in a protectionistic scheme, but realizing that our pork industry grows obviously more pork than we can utilize. We need those export markets, but we need it on a fair and level playing field. (John) Absolutely correct. You know we’re exporting approximately 25 percent of the product we produce in this country and so exports are extremely important. In 2014 we added 62 dollars to the value of each and every pig that was marketed through exports alone. And this TPP agreement has huge potential, more so than any of the other free trade agreements that we’ve negotiated. And it will be for the future and the next generation of pork producers obviously not all of the impacts of TPP will come into effect immediately, but certainly over a period of the next five to ten years we’re going to see some huge market access gains for our product. (Duane) And we think about those individuals that say that we’re not getting enough bang for our buck with that agreement. Anything is better than where we’ve been considering that most all other countries have free access to our market here. (John) Absolutely, I was very pleased the other night at the press conference to see agriculture come together, that National Corn Growers, the Soybean Association, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association and NPPC, all supportive of TPP. And every day as more segments of that negotiation are finding out the details, we’re seeing more and more support for TPP. I think that will have a big impact as we take our message to Congress that this is a good deal for American consumers, American workers, and certainly for American agriculture. (Duane) Moving to another topic, that obviously has implications, Country of Origin labeling. A program that depending on which side of the fence you stood on, it’s had some issues and some battles drawn. (John) Absolutely, I wish I had more good news for MCOL. There is a little bit of last minute hope. But the stage we’re currently in is the sentencing phase, by WTO. We expect an announcement sometime in early December, probably around the 7th of December, we will hear from them on the amount of retaliation that both Canada and Mexico will be allowed to impose. We look for that to be a rather substantial number. It’s most unfortunate. They will have the authority to begin retaliation immediately upon that determination and it’s going to impact a huge segment of the U.S. economy. (Duane) Our thanks to John Weber, President-elect with National Pork Producers Council, joining us in Kansas City, here on AGam in Kansas. Jamie, back to you.
(Jamie)Thanks, Duane. OK, it’s time to grab a cup of coffee, but don’t go far away – next up is this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.

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