Home Vilsack: Asian trade agreement could benefit Virginia agriculture

Vilsack: Asian trade agreement could benefit Virginia agriculture


economic-forecast-headerAs good as Virginia’s agricultural exports have gotten, they could increase even more with the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

That was the message U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack delivered March 9 at the 7th Annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade.

“Thirty percent of all agricultural sales are export-related, and the countries involved in the TPP represent one-third of all global trade,” Vilsack said. Signing the TPP would give the United States a $123 billion chance to expand agriculture and forestry exports, he said.

The TPP is a trade agreement designed to boost U.S. economic growth by exporting American-made products to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“It isn’t just the markets that exist; it’s the markets to come. Folks in Asia are hungry for what we grow and raise,” Vilsack said.

He said the TPP is about breaking down barriers and eliminating tariffs among participating countries. “It would give us all a level playing field.”

However, he urged those attending the conference to contact their Congressional representatives and support a North American-controlled TPP. “It’s important for people in this room to make Congress understand how important this TPP is and how important it is that we are leading it,” Vilsack said. “It’s that important; we don’t want China to write the rules of the road.”

He added that Virginia agriculture will benefit from the TPP because “Asians want poultry, soybeans and virtually everything you grow in this state.

“If we get the TPP approved, the possibilities for American agriculture are unlimited.”

Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer, who also spoke at the conference, said his country is in support of the TPP as well. “It would be a big advantage for agriculture in the U.S. and Canada, but we should try to hold the pen,” he said.

Doer said Canada and the United States already have a good trading relationship, and “we can negotiate a common-sense solution.”

The Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade was co-hosted by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.