US eyes food exports to growing Asia under TPP trade pact

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TOKYO (AP) — America's top farm official says a recently agreed-to 12-nation Pacific trade pact would provide a counterbalance to China's growing influence in the region while also opening up promising Asian markets and their burgeoning middle class.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview in Tokyo on Friday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP for short, would create a kind of coalition among nations concerned about the rise of Chinese power.

The wide-ranging trade agreement faces a tough battle for ratification in the U.S. Congress. Other signatories range from Japan to Vietnam, but don't include China.

Vilsack said the agreement would help American beef producers and others tap into a growing Asian middle class that is demanding high-value, safe food products.