Monday, November 09, 2015

How Obama's Trade Deal Might Stir Up Your Dinner

 by Tracie McMillan

When President Obama announced the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday — and released them on — there was a lot of talk about labor, the environment and manufacturing. But trade deals have a way of changing the way we eat, too. Consider NAFTA, which boosted the availability of cheap avocados and winter tomatoes for Americans, while expanding Wal-Mart and processed food in Mexico. So now that we know the details of this new Pacific Rim trade deal, what might it mean for dinner — both in the U.S. and the 11 other nations party to the treaty? Herewith, a cheat sheet on the 2,000-plus-page deal:

The TPP does away with more than 18,000 tariffs in the countries party to the deal. American producers will gain access to new markets — and foreign producers will get access to ours. That includes a lot of food, much of which could become cheaper here, as low-cost imports intensify competition on price.
Dairy: After significant battle during negotiations, Canada and New Zealand agreed to modest tariff reductions on dairy, opening their markets to American milk and cheese. In return, Americans may see more New Zealand milk — apple bircher "yogurt suckies", anyone? — on shelves.
Pork: The American pork industry has become a net exporter in the last 20 years, says Nick Giordano, vice president for global government affairs at the National Pork Producers Council. The TPP will pave the way for exports to continue to grow. But America also imports a significant amount of pork. Tariff reductions on imports here could make all that foreign pork cheaper, and push prices down in the U.S. — but also potentially threaten the livelihood of hog farmers.
Beef: The agreement doesn't do much for American beef producers, says the National Farmer's Union, because Japan won a provision that would push tariffs back up if imports surged. Smaller beef producers in the U.S. say that increased competition from imports will put more farmers out of business.

No comments: