Ohio farmer wants a word with Aust PM over TPP
An Ohio farmer is hoping to sit down for a chat with Scott Morrison when the Australian prime minister travels to the American heartland this weekend with US President Donald Trump.
Chris Gibbs raises corn, soybeans, alfalfa and seed stock cattle on 227 hectares of land not far from Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt's new paper recycling mill in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
Mr Morrison and Mr Trump will tour the $US310 million ($A455 million) facility on Sunday.
Mr Gibbs would like Mr Morrison to use his visit to convince the president to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and seven other Pacific rim nations.
"I want to say to Prime Minister Morrison that I would hope he will take the opportunity, while in the United States, to make the case to President Trump that Australia would welcome the US back into TPP negotiations with open arms," Mr Gibbs told AAP.
Mr Trump pulled the US out of the TPP on the third day of his presidency.
American farmers are enduring lost markets, financial strain and uncertainty following Mr Trump's TPP exit, the tariff war with China and slow bilateral trade negotiations with Japan and other significant trading partners.
Farmers, however, have been among Mr Trump's staunchest supporters - particularly in western Ohio where the president's Republican Party dominates.
Mr Gibbs, the former chair of his local Republican Party, is a rare opposition voice.
"I would like the chance to suggest to Prime Minister Morrison and President Trump that as a farmer, rejoining the TPP, even with modest adjustments, would provide a fast track to a comprehensive China solution on trade while providing much needed stability in markets worldwide," Mr Gibbs said.
"What's more, it would be a signal to the rest of our traditional allies that the United States doesn't just talk about leading, it is willing to demonstrate substantive leadership with multilateral good will and action."
Mr Gibbs says the TPP has given Australian farmers a decisive advantage over US counterparts when selling to key markets like Japan.
American beef producers pay a 38.5 per cent tariff on imports to Japan.
Under TPP-11, Australian beef sold to Japan faces a recently lowered 26.6 per cent tariff and it will be reduced to 25.8 per cent next year and to nine per cent over 16 years.
Mr Morrison, who will be feted by Mr Trump at the White House on Friday with a day of meetings and a state dinner, will meet again with the president on Sunday in Wapakoneta for the Pratt Industries plant tour.