TPP Ministerial Yields No Agreement 

No deal yet
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MAUI, HI - Trade ministers from twelve countries met for several days here last week, but failed to reach agreement on the broad and far reaching Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.  USA Rice was present at the meeting to press for greater market access for U.S. rice and to protect existing U.S. rice markets.  Obstacles on agriculture market access, particularly dairy, sugar, and rice, as well as on auto trade, among key TPP players are behind the lack of agreement.
 
"Despite a reasonable and commercially viable U.S. negotiating position on rice market access to Japan, Japan is offering new access equivalent to less than one percent of Japan's market," said Michael Rue, a California rice farmer who attended the Ministerial. "Additionally, the government of Japan is seeking to continue a very heavy-handed management of imports that prevents direct access to Japan's consumers."
 
Rue is also the chairman of USA Rice's Asia Trade Policy Subcommittee and believes the current deal is ultimately unacceptable to the U.S. rice industry.
 
"We are also concerned about the competitive status of U.S. rice if under this agreement Vietnam achieves duty-free status for milled rice in Mexico," he said. "We will look at any agreement as a whole, but an agreement without meaningful improvement in the quantity and quality of market access for U.S. rice in Japan and preservation of existing market access overall is an agreement that we have no choice but to oppose."
 
"We will redouble our efforts with administration officials and Congress to educate them on the critical importance of not settling for an agreement that provides substandard benefits for U.S. rice," said Bob Cummings, USA Rice COO who also attended the Ministerial. 
 
Cummings said another Ministerial could be planned for later this summer, and USA Rice would continue to participate to represent the U.S. industry.
 
The twelve TPP participants are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.