How the U.S.'s TPP withdrawal will affect local potato growers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How the U.S.'s TPP withdrawal will affect local potato growers

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, WA - President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership this week, and many people are wondering how local growers and farmers who export their products to Asia will be affected.

The Washington and Oregon Potato Growers Convention today featured many speakers, including one D.C. insider who shed a little light on what it might mean for the potato industry moving forward.

Reporter Rex Carlin attended the convention to hear the National Potato Council's Executive Vice President and CEO John Keeling tell the crowd today that the affect of dropping the TPP will be felt in the future, rather than the present. Because Congress never actually passed the TPP, it hadn't gone into effect yet.

But he added that there were aspects of the partnership that would have helped the potato industry, specifically when exporting to countries like Vietnam and Japan, where he says fast food chains like McDonald's and KFC are constantly growing which increases demand for potatoes.

Hundreds of people packed one of the auditoriums at the convention center to hear Keeling's thoughts on the Trump Administration and how it could affect the potato industry.

Keeling says the TPP would have reduced tariffs in participating countries from 10-12% down to zero over five years. He adds it probably wouldn't have passed in Congress anyway, but the fact that other countries are reducing their tariffs and the U.S. isn't puts the potato growers at a disadvantage as they try to export their products across the pacific.

Keeling told the crowd today he can see the value in President Trump wanting to negotiate with countries individually, but in the meantime the uncertainty is worrying because the industry relies so much on exporting to other countries.