The United Fresh Produce Association has reacted to new US president Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement.
In a statement, United Fresh president and CEO Tom Stenzel said that while the decision was expected, other agricultural agreements should be negotiated as a matter of urgency – or the US could be left behind.
“We were not surprised that President Trump has officially withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact," Stenzel noted. "As we know, Congress was not likely to confirm the agreement in any case. But now is the time to move past anti-trade rhetoric and begin the process of building consensus for the key portions of the agreement that had been negotiated in the TPP.
"Both US agriculture and US consumers benefit from trade, and exports to the Asian Pacific countries are a critical opportunity for US producers," Stenzel continued. "Beyond that, the TPP was the first major agreement that began to build strong rules for countries to prevent putting up protectionist measures in the form of sanitary and phytosanitary barriers. Without this agreement, we fall back to an environment where countries can simply choose to block imports without scientific justification.
"We encourage President Trump and his new administration not just to withdraw from trade agreements, but to come to the table to renegotiate agricultural agreements as soon as possible," he urged. "Our potential trading partners won’t sit idly by, but will find other partners and leave the United States behind. Most importantly, America deserves real trade agreements that benefit both consumers and producers.”