Iowa Governor Terry Branstad along with Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds spent some time at the Iowa Fairgrounds during World Pork Expo 2015 held is Des Moines, Iowa. While onsite, they spoke to dozens of Iowa pork producers as well as address a crowd during the SIP luncheon hosted by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Branstad noted that Iowa is the largest pork producing state as well as the largest pork exporting state. In addition, Iowa’s pork industry adds $7.5 billion to the states’s economic activity. He stressed that increased trade is a great thing for Iowa, and the country and added his support to the efforts underway to open the doors to export pork products to additional countries such as Australia and Japan.
Listen to Iowa Lt. Kim Reynolds followed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s comments on Iowa’s state of agriculture here: Branstad Keynote
Following the Iowa pork industry outlook, was a national outlook on trade as it impacts the pork industry delivered by Ambassador Darci Vetter, chief agriculture negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Vetter, who graduated from Des Moines-based Drake University, has been pounding the pavement and meeting with Congressman in support of the the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would open the door for pork exports to several more countries.
So why the need for TPP? Vetter explained that trade and the TPP along with other trade agreements support economic growth and job creation, avoids losing marketshare and outlines strategic and geopolitical benefits. The TPP, she stressed, would also eliminate or reduce existing and non-tariff obstacles, clearing the path for additional pork exports. One issue in particular that is being addressed is allowing the exports of pork products to countries who have different views on animal health and welfare. The TPP would improve transparency and establish science-based regulations to overcome these barriers.
The TPP is a treaty and so to pass the TPP, the president needs Trade Promotion Authority which has passed the Senate and is under review in the House. Vetter is championing the ag export cause personally and said that if passed, exports would increase by 50 percent over the next 10 years post implementation. If not passed, all countries are creating these free trade authorities and if America doesn’t do one and other country’s do, then products from competing nations will the gap.
Listen to Ambassador Darci Vetter’s comments on trade here: Opportunities for U.S. Pork in Global Market
Find photos from the event here: 2015 World Pork Expo Photo Album