Bourbon, Boots, Buicks Are TPP Winners: White House

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By Cheryl Bolen

Oct. 13 — In an effort to gain support for the recently announced Trans-Pacific Partnership, the White House created a list of products in each state that would benefit from the elimination of tariffs, including Kentucky bourbon and Missouri barbecue sauce.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that when the rules of trade are fair, Americans can out-compete anyone in the world.

The TPP would slash 18,000 taxes that various countries put on American goods, Earnest said. One example is automobile tires made in Ohio that face tariffs or foreign taxes as high as 40 percent, he said.

In keeping with the president's commitment to strong trade enforcement, the U.S. has worked aggressively through the World Trade Organization to hold China accountable for violating trade rules, Earnest said.

“The TPP actually goes one step further by making sure that manufacturers aren't at a disadvantage when they sell their tires abroad to any of our 11 TPP countries,” Earnest said. “So Ohio is a good example.”

Pork and BBQ Sauce, Too

Another example is leather boots that are shipped from Texas to TPP countries that face foreign taxes as high as 30 percent, which would be eliminated, Earnest said.

Kentucky, meanwhile, is a state known for its bourbon, Earnest said. Some TPP countries place foreign taxes on bourbon as high as 45 percent, which would be eliminated, he said.

Other examples include cars manufactured in Michigan and exported around the world that face a foreign tax of up to 70 percent in some TPP countries, Earnest said. Some countries put an exorbitantly high tax on American pork from states such as Iowa, up to 388 percent before it can be imported into another country, he said.

“[T]he great state of Missouri, the show-me state, produces barbecue sauce that is world renowned,” Earnest said. “This is barbecue that currently faces, in some countries, a foreign tax as high as 30 percent,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), from Kentucky, is a critic of the TPP agreement for its treatment of tobacco.

Vote Not Imminent

Earnest said that the president and administration officials are trying to convince Congress and the public about the benefits of this agreement, even though a vote is still quite a ways off.

The text of the agreement still must be completed, translated into a variety of different languages and made public for 60 days before the president signs it, Earnest said.

Then, there will be additional time for that text to be considered publicly before Congress puts it to a vote, Earnest said.

“There certainly is an effort to communicate with Capitol Hill to make sure that they understand exactly what's been completed here to help them understand what's included in the agreement,” he said.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Rothman at