California Wine, Farming Sectors Support TPP

California’s wineries have come out strongly in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement–known to critics as “Obamatrade”–agreed upon by the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations and awaiting ratification by the Senate.

The Golden State’s farming and agricultural industry also lauded the pact, which faces significant opposition in Washington from both right and left leading up to a final vote in approximately four months.

In a statement on its website, California Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. “Bobby” Koch said he believes the TPP will deliver “strong and market-opening trade agreements” that will help “grow the U.S. economy and create and support well-paying U.S. jobs.”

California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) President Paul Wenger took a similar stance, stating that “farm exports provide jobs in rural areas, of course, but also lead to jobs at warehouses, ports, trucking companies and other urban businesses that move farm goods to customers around the world.” In an interview with Agriculture Net West, he said the Golden State is “uniquely positioned” to benefit from this agreement due to its geographical proximity to the Pacific Rim.

The other 11 nations involved in this agreement are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

California wine reportedly represents 90 percent of U.S. wine production, and the California Wine Institute relates that wine production and exports from the Golden State contribute over $120 billion annually to the U.S. economy and generate 820,000 jobs nationwide. Furthermore, the Institute states that U.S. wine exports saw a 64 percent increase from five years ago, resulting in a staggering $1.49 billion in winery revenues in 2014 alone.

“We congratulate the Administration for its hard work and look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement and continuing to work with Congress and the Administration on the TPP,” Koch said.

Details of the 5,544-page trade deal were released last Thursday. Division over the deal has been vocal on both sides of the party divide.

Billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has come out strongly against the deal, calling it “insanity.” Trump recently suggested in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News Daily that the TPP will be used as a weapon against the United States, as it could encourage currency manipulation, particularly with regard to China.

Although China is not yet part of the deal, it is likely it will join the pact in the near future. “It’s the number-one weapon used by foreign countries to hurt the United States and take away jobs,” Trump said.

Conversely, presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has declared the TPP to be one of three essential foreign policy “pillars” of a Rubio presidency.

President Obama will likely need to garner more Democratic support for the deal in Congress if it is to pass. Both leading Democratic presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), are opposed.

“Wall Street and big corporations just won a big victory to advance a disastrous trade deal,” Sanders reportedly said upon the announcement of the deal. “Now it’s on us to stop it from becoming law.”

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