U.S. Agriculture Secretary makes a stop in the Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The U.S. Agriculture Secretary made a visit to the Valley Tuesday partly to tout the trans-pacific partnership.

The trade agreement would involve 12 countries representing 40 percent of the global economy.

Foster Farms in Livingston was the first stop on Tom Vilsack's west coast swing.

The U.S. Ag Secretary looked over the company's improved food safety standards designed to lower salmonella levels.

Vilsack and Fresno Congressman Jim Costa then came to Fresno to discuss the trans-pacific partnership. "I can tell you there is immediate impact, immediate benefit and over time a very significant market access because of tariff reduction and because of this system for sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers," said Vilsack.

Vilsack says the TPP offers a big opportunity for Valley commodities. "If you're looking at dairy the market access is expanded in Canada and Japan. If you're looking at tree nuts you're seeing an elimination, a reduction of significant tariffs."

Same with locally grown fruits and vegetables but critics argue the trans pacific partnership would send more jobs overseas.

"This is all about jobs and the economy in america. 95-percent of the world's market is outside america. We're 5-percent of the market," said Congressman Costa.

Costa has not yet decided how he will vote on the trans-pacific partnership. The 1,000 page proposal is expected to be released to lawmakers within 25 days.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.