Trade Agreement Big for State
November 10, 2015
Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement Will be Boon for California
By Laurie Greene, Editor
On Friday, Nov. 6, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told California Ag Today the released full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement shows that it will be boon for California Exports. Vilsack said, “You’re close to the market, you have ports that access and serve those markets, and you have the products those markets want—whether they are fruits and vegetables or tree nuts,” Vilsack noted. “In fact, we just released a report on our exports as they exist today. Obviously tree nuts are a big export opportunity. We saw significant growth there as well; it is now an $8.8 billion market and California certainly plays to that,” he said.
Vilsack said the trade deal is all about better access, “The fact that tariffs are going to be eliminated in a number of these countries that we do business with will level the playing field for our fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. It is going to open up enormous opportunities for us.”
Vilsack also said these increased exports will definitely increase jobs in California, “This agreement will add and anticipated $120 to $130 billion in U.S. export opportunities, of which agriculture is roughly 9%, so you do the math; it is billions of dollars in additional trade. California is going to get their fair share. It will impact employment because every billion dollars in ag sales supports 6500 good paying jobs, and these are jobs that currently pay about 18% more in benefits than non-export-related jobs.”
President Obama intends to sign this legislation, but first, Congress is poring over the text to make their concerns or support known. Then they will have an up or down vote, but no amendments can be added to the bill.
Again, California specialty crop growers stand to benefit greatly from this trade bill. Ag leaders are urging Congress to pass it and all California commodity trade groups are solidly behind it as well.