Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued this statement following the Administration’s release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement:
“The TPP will continue to drive the U.S. cattle and sheep industry’s untenable trade deficits to new heights. The cattle industry is already burdened by an accumulated deficit of $46.1 billion with the 20 countries that we already have free trade agreements with.
“Our sheep industry has been absolutely decimated by huge volumes of cheaper Australian imports and because the TPP adds New Zealand, which also is a major lamb exporter, the TPP is sure to further decimate our commercial sheep industry.
“The TPP will expand the multinational meatpackers’ practice of cherry-picking low-cost cattle and sheep production from around the world, allowing them to strategically ship those animals and meat products into the United States duty free to create even more market volatility and to drive domestic prices even lower.
The TPP is yet another license that gives multinational meatpackers the ability to control both the live cattle and live sheep production chains.
“We just submitted a brief to the U.S. International Trade Commission that shows that Canada is the largest contributor to our burgeoning trade deficit because we imported more than $31 billion in cattle and beef from Canada than we exported to that country. Australia is the second-largest contributor at over $23 billion.
“Our brief shows that these deficits are a drain to the economic strength of our domestic cattle and sheep industries just as deficits are a direct drain on a nation’s gross domestic product.
“We are deeply disappointed that this Administration is, again, putting the interests of multinational meatpackers over the interests of independent livestock producers, this time by giving those meatpackers even more access to price-depressing imports.”
For a copy of R-CALF USA’s brief to the U.S. International Trade Commission, click here.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.