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Little Progress on Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Talks

December 14, 2012
By: Jim Dickrell, Dairy Today Editor

Negotiators made little progress in trade talks on the free trade agreement Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week. Negotiators met for the 15th round of talks in Auckland, New Zealand this week.

The TPP trade talks involve Pacific Rim nations including the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The total population of these countries is 658 million with a total gross domestic product of $20.7 trillion.

“It’s not surprising negotiators did not make much progress, since Canada and Mexico were just recently added to the mix,” says Shawna Morris, who monitor world trade agreements for both the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Since Canada has been added to the negotiations, USDEC and NMPF efforts have been focused on gaining access to the Canadian dairy market. Right now, that market is closed to U.S. dairy products for sale in Canada.

At the same time, USDEC and NMPF oppose allowing more access to New Zealand dairy products here in the United States. The organizations say Fonterra, New Zealand’s leading dairy company, has near monopolistic market power in the country with 90% market share. As a result, it can set the price it pays to New Zealand dairy farmers and can undercut prices in any country in which it chooses to compete.

The 16th Round of the TPP is scheduled for March.

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