The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in a statement today thanked U.S. trade officials “for diligently working to achieve an outcome in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations that would benefit all sectors of our nation’s economy, including agriculture,” and expressed “deep disappointment in Japan’s continuing rejection of the fundamental terms of a successful TPP agreement, as agreed upon by leaders of all participating TPP nations prior to Japan’s entry into the negotiations last year.”

U.S. and Japanese officials said they did not make progress this week in negotiations on agriculture and automobiles and have not scheduled another high-level meeting.

The NPPC said Japan continues to demand exemptions from tariff elimination for an unprecedented number of agricultural products.  Its negotiators have declared that products such as pork, dairy, beef, wheat, barley, sugar and rice are “sacred” and cannot be opened to free trade in the TPP.

“Japan has employed this or similar arguments in all of its prior free trade agreements, so it is not surprising that some in the United States might accept this as reality, submit to Japan’s demand and accept the crumbs from its table,” the NPPC said.

“Acquiescing to Japan’s demand would represent a radical departure from past U.S. trade policy, which has held to the principle that free trade agreements must cover virtually all trade between the parties,” NPPC said.

“It also would diminish the overall outcome in the TPP since negotiators from the other 11 participating nations will not want to explain to producers of sensitive products in their countries why they are not being provided similar exemptions.”

The full NPPC statement is available at National Pork Producers Council — Statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations.