California Cattle Industry Supports TPP Trade Proposal
By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor
Justin Oldfield, California Cattlemen’s Association’s vice president of government relations and a cattleman in Sacramento County, expressed support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at the December roundtable in Sacramento at which U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse presented.
Oldfield anticipates TPP would boost demand for U.S. farm and food products among nearly 500 million consumers in 11 countries. “TPP is largely supported not only by California’s beef industry, but across the country, largely because members of TPP represent some of the largest export markets for U.S. beef.”
“Consumers in those markets love U.S. beef,” said Oldfield, “Unfortunately, we do have some pretty high tariff rates in TPP-member countries.” Oldfield explained the U.S. has recently been at a competitive disadvantage with Australia in supplying beef to Japan. Australia, which also depends on its beef exports, has a lower tariff right now with the Japanese.
“A good percentage of that [Japanese] market has been taken away from us by the Australians,” Oldfield said. “With TPP in place, it will put us right back on a level playing field with the Australians and a reduction in tariffs in the long-term. We hope to recapture some of that market share back once TPP is done,” said Oldfield.
Oldfield hopes Congress moves quickly on TPP to make it eligible for a vote, “so that we can get back to sending high quality beef to the Pacific Rim. Every day that Congress sits on [TPP] will cost beef producers money here, and not just in California, but across the United States in terms of our market access to Japan,” he said.