WASHINGTON — The North American Millers’ Association last week joined other agriculture groups to urge Secretary Mike Pompeo and the US Department of State to release funds already committed in support of the International Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.
NAMA teamed with 32 fellow agricultural associations for a May 22 letter addressed to Mr. Pompeo and carbon copied to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Ted MicKinney, the USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
The letter asked that the funds be released “in order to maintain strength and continuity of efforts and programs conducted by IICA to advance US interests.”
“At a time of increased pressure on US farmers, ranchers and food producers, we write to thank you for your ongoing support of IICA and to encourage continued US engagement and leadership within the organization,” the letter said.
The IICA is a specialized agency of the Inter-American System that promotes adoption of science-based policies, enhances capacity for participation in international organizations, and creates a favorable environment for collaboration between agriculture leaders of its Western Hemisphere member states. The IICA supports the goal of reducing non-scientific barriers that harm US agricultural exports.
The letter from NAMA and other trade organizations argued that continued US investment in IICA will aid expansion of a successful track record of combatting efforts by US competitors who seek to use trade agreements and international standards to advance national or regional interests and erect de facto prohibitions on importation of US products.
“Success in these organizations is predicated on US leadership, coalition building, and robust participation of likeminded countries that demand science-based policymaking,” the letter noted. “IICA plays a critical role ensuring these conditions exist.”
The associations’ request to Mr. Pompeo concluded listing some of the ways IICA has worked to unite like-minded countries that demand policy based in science, including:
- Empowering the private sector to bring cutting-edge solutions to the hemisphere in a manner that capitalizes on the strengths of private enterprise and avoids bureaucratic red tape.
- Maintains a relationship with the USDA and works to resolve current and future agriculture trade barriers.
- Works with the United States to establish control zones for foot and mouth disease in Central and South America.
- With the USDA, developed the OIE Strategy Meeting of the Americas, bringing OIE delegates from the Western Hemisphere together to discuss areas of interest and concerns.
- Performed outreach integral to achieving unanimous endorsement of a US-sponsored resolution emphasizing the need for science-based agricultural regulations to facilitate agricultural trade.
- Worked with the USDA amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to coordinate and work with agriculture ministers from around the world to find solutions to ensure nutritious food continues to be available for all people.
NAMA co-signed the letter with the following associations:
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- American Seed Trade Association
- American Feed Industry Association
- American Soybean Association
- Animal Health Institute
- Corn Refiners Association
- CropLife America
- Food and Agriculture Export Alliance
- Global Cold Chain Alliance
- International Dairy Foods Association
- Leather and Hide Council of America
- Meat Import Council of America
- National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
- National Association of Wheat Growers
- National Corn Growers Association
- National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
- National Grain and Feed Association
- National Milk Producers Federation
- National Oilseed Processors Association
- National Pork Producers
- Council National Turkey Federation
- North American Export Grain Association
- North American Meat Institute
- North American Renderers Association
- Sweetener Users Association
- US Dairy Export Council
- US Dry Bean Council
- US Grains Council
- US Soybean Export Council
- United States Council for International Business
- USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
- USA Rice.