U.S. withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership has impact on Colorado

DENVER -- With the swipe of a pen, President Donald Trump on Monday ended the United States’ role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Many economic experts in Colorado said losing out on the international trade agreement will have severe consequences for the Centennial State.

No other group within Colorado will be affected more than the state’s agricultural industry, according to business association leaders.

Beef represents more than 50 percent of Colorado’s exports, according to Colorado State University. Much of that beef goes to TPP countries that had agreed to drastically lower tariffs on American imports.

“The TPP would’ve lowered 18,000 tariffs for U.S. companies to export their goods to those 11 markets,” said Karen Gerwitz, president of World Trade Center Denver.

Without the United States’ participation in the TPP, any financial hurdles on American exports sold in those 11 markets of the Pacific Rim will need to be negotiated in a country-by-country process.

What’s more, Gerwitz said the TPP would have likely strengthened America’s position in Asia, giving the U.S. more power over China.

“The downside of not having the TPP is that it strengthens China’s position against the United States,” Gerwitz said.

But Colorado farmer Dale McCall, who leads the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, said not so fast, the TPP wasn’t that great of a deal for his union members.

“We’re concerned about currency manipulation,” McCall said. “We didn’t believe there were adequate provisions in TPP to guard against that.”

McCall said the family farmers and ranchers he represents felt the TPP would benefit multinational corporations instead of the average working man and woman.

Amanda Countryman, an assistant professor at Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, said the benefits of the TPP are extensive.

She pointed to economic powerhouse Japan, saying the TPP would have decreased the American import tariff to the country from 38 percent to 9 percent. She said that decrease would have allowed Colorado beef producers to be more competitive abroad.

Overall, the state economy stood to gain up to $157 million under full implementation of the TPP per year, according to the Colorado Farm Bureau.

What’s unclear is how much money could be gained under any future trade deals made under the Trump administration.