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Food and Ag Groups to Trump: Let’s Work to Modernize NAFTA

Jan 25, 2017

A total of 133 organizations and companies from the food and agriculture sector, including IDFA, sent President Donald Trump a letter this week expressing their eagerness to work with his administration to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), while preserving and expanding the gains achieved to date. The collective group represents industries that support more than 15 million jobs nationally.

“U.S. food and agricultural exports have produced a trade surplus for nearly 50 years,” the groups said in the letter. “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 said. “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.”

Dairy Sector Requires Attention

Dairy is one of the sectors requiring attention, especially in Canada, where protectionist policies are blocking imports from the United States. These policies are in violation of Canada’s trade commitments under NAFTA, and the U.S. dairy industry has recently reached out to President Trump to urge immediate action. Read “Canada’s Protectionist Policies Will Harm U.S. Economy, Dairy Groups Tell President-Elect Trump” and view this video, “U.S. Dairy Reaches Out to Trump,” from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to learn more.

In this week’s letter to Trump, the food and ag groups said they look forward to working with the new administration on reducing the non-tariff trade barriers that continue to inhibit U.S. exports to the North American marketplace, as well as to addressing the remaining tariffs impeding access for some U.S. export sectors.

The complete letter can be read here.

More detailed information and statistics on the importance of NAFTA to the U.S. food and agriculture industry, including highlights relevant to specifics sectors, such apples, beef, corn, dairy, food manufacturing, peanuts, pork, rice, soybeans, sugar and sweeteners and wheat, are available here.

Members with questions may contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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