Trade ambassador touts TPP benefits in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A free trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership has drawn heated debate.

It would reduce tariffs for US products shipped overseas but others believed the wide-ranging agreement could also prevent the distribution of generic drugs. The TPP covered everything from retail to manufacturing.

The trade ambassador who negotiated the agricultural portion of the agreement touted its benefits at the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.

Darci Vetter is the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the US Trade Representative Office. She said of the TPP, "This isn't nice to have. It's a need to have to keep us competitive in the global marketplace."

Vetter came to share insights on how the local ag industry can profit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Nathan Ahle said, "Reducing some of the tariffs, reducing some of the restrictions while maintaining high standards on agricultural and other imports and exports it'd be a tremendous benefit to the Fresno ag community."

The TPP agreement involved the US, Canada and 10 Pacific Rim countries.

Vetter said producers could tap into the growing middle class in countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.

She explained, "That's really good news for dairy exporters here in California, for our beef producers, producers of poultry and pork. They'll need to buy that protein from us."
But the TPP faces an uncertain future in Congress.

Some have been critical of the agreement - believing more US jobs would be lost to foreign companies and environmental standards would be weakened.
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