A new Wisconsin Farmers Union study released Thursday showed Wisconsin dairy farmers believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership would do more harm than good.
When ratified, the TPP would, among other things, eliminate tariffs on dairy products in countries including Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Canada, according to a United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service report.
The Wisconsin report states that the partnership would open up trade access to 500 million consumers in the 11 countries in the agreement. Mark Stephenson, director of UW Dairy Policy Analysis and the Center for Dairy Profitability, said most of the growth available to the U.S. dairy industry comes from export sales in emerging economies, where members of the the growing middle class use newfound wealth to purchase better quality foods.
But Kara O’Connor, Wisconsin Farmers Union government relations director, said world markets have changed and many of the countries that the TPP looks to open trade with are now able to produce enough milk and would not want to import from the U.S.
According to Wisconsin Farmer Union’s study, many Wisconsin dairy farmers also believe that trade agreements like TPP do not take their opinions into account, Gabe Chapman, Wisconsin Farmers Union dairy survey analyst, said. Some are afraid that passing TPP could lead to their “voices being silenced” even more.
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