Following the announcement on 5 October that trade ministers from the US and 11 other Pacific Rim nations reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, Stephen Sothmann, president of the US Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) issued the following statement:

"USHSLA has long been a supporter of the TPP and the opportunities it presents for US hides and skins producers, processors, traders and exporters. The agreement will reduce or eliminate import tariffs on US products in key leather and footwear producing countries, such as Vietnam and Japan, enhancing the competitiveness of US firms in these markets. Furthermore, new rules governing animal health regulations and customs and border protocols stand to enhance the international trading regime to the benefit of all companies in the leather supply chain."

The TPP partner countries include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Trade ministers announced the deal in Atlanta on Monday after over five years of negotiations. The agreement would phase out thousands of import tariffs and other barriers to international trade, while also establishing minimum labour and environmental standards.

The full text of the final agreement is expected to be released in the coming months and the TPP must first be approved by the US Congress and lawmakers in each of the 11 other negotiating nations. Earlier this year, the Congress passed Trade Promotion Authority, which allows for an up-or-down vote on the final agreement, without the possibility of offering amendments that could block a deal.