WASHINGTON, D.C. —The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) sent a letter to House and Senate leaders expressing support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in solidarity with more than 220 other groups representing the U.S. food and agriculture industry.
 
"If faithfully implemented, TPP will help level the playing field for U.S. exports and create new opportunities for us in the highly competitive Asia-Pacific region," the letter states. "The TPP is critical to the livelihood of the U.S. food and agriculture sector because it will create conditions that encourage economic growth and increased employment in rural areas and throughout the supply chain."
 
The U.S. and 11 other Asia-Pacific nations agreed last fall to TPP, the largest regional trade agreement in history that represents 40% of the world's economy. Countries in the TPP currently account for up to 42% of all U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $63 billion.
 
After seven years of negotiations, the multi-lateral trade agreement awaits ratification by the U.S. Congress and the other TPP member countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam).
 
NGFA urged Congress to approve the TPP this year.
 
The longer the launch of TPP is delayed, the more damage is done to the U.S. economy, the NGFA said. The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) published a 33-page report on the impacts of the Trans Pacific Partnership, concluding that delaying TPP by even one year would represent $94 billion permanent loss to the U.S. economy.
 
"If we do not lead, we will simply fall behind as our competitors aggressively work to establish alternative trade agreements that place their agricultural interests at an advantage," the letter states.
 
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, TPP will boost annual net farm income in the U.S. by $4.4 billion. USDA estimates that every $1 billion of U.S. agricultural exports in 2014 required approximately 7,550 American jobs throughout the economy.
 
While the U.S. already has trade agreements with six of the TPP member countries, the trade deal would add important rules to help bolster trade, such as a "rapid-response mechanism" long sought by the NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association for shipments held at point-of-import. In addition, provisions on agricultural biotechnology are included that commit TPP countries to foster transparency in their decision-making processes, to work together on situations of low-level presence of biotech products, and to promote timely authorization of products of modern biotechnology.
 
The NGFA maintains that through increased access to export markets, the TPP would increase U.S. livestock demand for feed grains, distillers dried grains and soybean meal.
 
"The TPP presents a valuable opportunity for U.S. agriculture; one that we cannot afford to miss. TPP is important for the future of rural America, and we urge passage of TPP during this session of Congress," the letter concludes.
 
View NGFA's summary of the trade agreement here.