WASHINGTON — A total of 133 organizations and companies from the food and agriculture sector sent a letter Jan. 24 to President Donald J. Trump expressing their eagerness to work with his new administration to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) while preserving and expanding the gains achieved to date.
“U.S. food and agricultural exports have produced a trade surplus for nearly 50 years,” the letter noted. “Consistent growth over this period resulted in over $130 billion worth of exports, which created $423 billion in U.S. economic activity in 2015.”
The letter also noted that in the 20 years since NAFTA was implemented, the market integration it fostered helped quadruple the value of U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico.
“With a few key sector exceptions that still require attention, North America intraregional food and agriculture trade is now free of tariff and quota restrictions....,” the letter continued. “Because of these market access gains, the food and agricultural sectors of the North American region have become far more integrated, as is evidenced by rising trade in agricultural products and substantial levels of cross-border investment in the agriculture and food sectors.... (We) look forward to working with your administration on reducing the non-tariff trade barriers that continue to inhibit our exports to the North American marketplace, as well as to addressing the remaining tariffs impeding access for some U.S. export sectors.”Signatories to the letter included major food companies and industry associations, most farm and commodity organizations and cooperatives, and the National Grain and Feed Association as well as state feed and grain organizations.