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May 19, 2016

PRESS STATEMENT: WESTERN GROWERS REITERATES SUPPORT FOR TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

IRVINE, Calif. (May 19, 2016) — Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif reiterating support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement following the release of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) analysis of its likely impact on the U.S. economy:

“The ITC report released yesterday confirms that the recently-concluded TPP agreement will be a net positive for the American economy, including the fresh produce industry. If enacted, the TPP agreement will increase fruit, vegetable and tree nut exports by nearly $1 billion, or 8.3 percent. Expanded opportunities to access the Vietnamese and Japanese markets will drive the majority of this growth.

Currently, the U.S. fresh produce industry has a $6 billion balance of trade deficit with the TPP partner countries. By implementing significant tariff reductions for fruits, vegetables and tree nuts – one of the major barriers to foreign markets – the agreement will achieve greater (though not complete) fairness between American farmers and their TPP trading partners.

Even with these tariff reductions, the ITC report notes that longstanding Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures may still function as a barrier for American farming companies seeking to enter TPP markets. While we appreciate the beneficial steps taken in the agreement, it is critical that the TPP partners continue moving forward toward a more scientifically-based and consistently-applied SPS system. Indeed, we expect that the U.S. government will need to work deliberately and diligently to ensure the new SPS provisions are being complied with after the TPP agreement is ratified.

Farming is a business filled with risk, one dependent on the weather and made worse this year by the ongoing drought in the western United States. Exporting products to eager foreign markets allow farmers to offset some of the inherent risks they face, and may be the difference between profits and losses in many years.

The TPP agreement is a positive step in the right direction. We encourage our Congressional leaders to quickly move TPP to a vote so that American businesses in all sectors may realize the benefits our trade representatives worked so hard to secure. This deal, negotiated in good faith, must not be allowed to get caught up in the politics of the presidential campaign.”

About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California and Colorado. Our members and their workers provide half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.

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