In a recent letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, 47 congressmen urged Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to make U.S. agricultural issues a priority in USTR’s plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The legislators said it’s imperative for the United States to preserve the trade gains that NAFTA has provided and to address Canada’s harmful trade policies, especially for U.S. dairy and poultry.
Noting that U.S. agricultural exports under NAFTA have grown from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38 billion in 2015, the legislators said the pact had removed significant trade barriers, allowing American farmers to reach new markets more easily. These gains have allowed the U.S. agricultural sector to compete more successfully, but opportunities remain for leveling the global playing field.
“American dairy and poultry producers have been threatened by Canada’s trade-distorting non-tariff policies, as well as steep tariffs and quotas on U.S. dairy and poultry products,” the legislators said in the letter. “These protectionist policies have threatened the vitality of America’s dairy and poultry industries across the country.”
The letter was signed by 47 members of the House of Representatives, including Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ron Kind (D-WI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA). Read the letter and full list of names here.
IDFA has consistently urged U.S. officials and legislators to maintain the industry’s strong trade relationship with Mexico and to address Canada’s protectionist dairy policies during renegotiation efforts, while naming other areas in need of modernizing, such as protections for common food names and enhanced sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
July 17: Public release of NAFTA negotiating objectives by the administration
August 16: Formal NAFTA negotiations may start
For more information, contact Beth Hughes, director of international affairs, at email@example.com.