The nation’s chief agricultural trade negotiator, Darci Vetter, will speak March 29 in Little Rock about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country pact that if approved by Congress, would be the largest free trade agreement in U.S. history.

Vetter’s talk is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the Friday Courtroom of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. It will be followed by a question-and-answer panel discussion that’s expected to include Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, and should wrap up at 3 p.m. The event is co-hosted by the National Agricultural Law Center, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a high priority consideration for agriculture in Arkansas and across the nation, and we are very fortunate to have Ambassador Vetter here to discuss TPP and its impact to the agricultural sector,” said Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agricultural Law Center. “It could be pivotal in states like Arkansas whose economies are driven by ag.”

Vetter is a strong advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement among 12 countries on the rim of the Pacific Ocean, with both economic and strategic significance for the United States. The partnership contains measures to lower trade barriers such as tariffs and establish an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism.

Those included in the regional trade pact include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Critics of the agreement have voiced concerns about environmental protections and intellectual property rights.

Vetter is a former U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy under secretary, who oversaw the department’s international activities. She had key responsibilities in international trade negotiations and export assistance programs, and coordinated USDA’s role in international food aid. She also played a leadership role in several international economic development and trade capacity building programs.

Ambassador Vetter is in Arkansas to take part in the Farm Policy Summit being hosted by Arkansas Farm Bureau.

A copy of the original press release is available here.