The nation’s soybean farmers expressed significant concern Monday, following an executive order from President Donald Trump that withdraws the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). American Soybean Association (ASA) President Ron Moore pointed out the high stakes for soybean farmers, and urged the Trump Administration to immediately announce how it intends to engage and expand market access in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Trade is something soybean farmers take very seriously. We export more than half the soy we grow here in the United States, and still more in the form of meat and other products that are produced with our meal and oil,” said Moore, who farms in Roseville, Ill. “The TPP held great promise for us, and has been a key priority for several years now. We’re very disappointed to see the withdrawal today.”
Soybeans are the nation’s largest agricultural export, and markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America continue to grow in their potential as buyers of U.S. soy. The biggest beneficiary from TPP, however, was the American livestock industry–in the form of increased meat and dairy exports–which represents the largest domestic market for soybean meal.
The TPP represents 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), and according to the Peterson Institute, would have increased overall U.S. exports by $357 billion by 2030. Specifically for U.S. farmers, TPP would have increased annual net farm income by $4.4 billion according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Additionally, TPP was the first regional trade agreement to address the need to coordinate international policy on trade in the products of agricultural biotechnology, a benefit that ASA will push to see in any future agreements with TPP partner nations.
“Moving forward, we expect to see a plan in place as soon as possible to engage the TPP partner nations and capture the value that we lose with the withdrawal today. With net farm income down by over 40 percent from levels just a few years ago, we need trade deals with the Asia-Pacific countries to make up for the $4.4 billion in annual net farm income being lost by farmers from not moving forward with the TPP. Also, we expect a seat at the table to help ensure these agreements in whatever form they take are crafted to capture their full value for soybean farmers,” added Moore. “Trade is too important for us to support anything less.”