Selling U.S. goods and services around the world creates and maintains good jobs at home, helps small businesses, expands consumer choices, and improves American competitiveness. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders. Yet, while our markets are largely open to trade, many other countries are not.
Trade is vital to the success of our nation’s farmers. In fact, more than 25 percent of all U.S. ag production ultimately goes to markets outside our borders. In 2016, the United States exported $130 billion in agricultural products. Our top export markets are Canada ($21.3 billion), China ($18.2 billion), Mexico ($18 billion), Europe ($13 billion) and Japan ($11.2 billion). American agriculture nearly always wins when trade agreements remove barriers to our exports, since we impose very few compared to other nations.
As trade discussions continue under the new Trump Administration and in the 115th Congress, Farm Bureau will be watching the following highlighted items closely:
• Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the EU include the sanitary and phytosanitary measures that continue to stop U.S. exports of conventional beef, pork, and poultry, along with tariff reductions and the need for a timely GMO approval process within the EU. Tariff removal has also been an important negotiation factor since EU tariffs on animal products average 30 percent and 50 percent for dairy products.
• North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – NAFTA has helped agriculture. Since 1993, U.S agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have increased from $8.9 billion to $38 billion annually in 2016. Renegotiation of NAFTA provisions must include the participation of U.S. agriculture, and protect the gains achieved in agricultural trade and work to remove remaining barriers to trade with Canada and Mexico.
• Appropriations – During the Appropriations process, it will be important for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program to be funded. Through MAP, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state trade groups, and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities to help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. FMD helps create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Under the program, FAS partners with U.S. agricultural producers and processors, who are represented by non-profit commodity or trade associations to promote U.S. commodities overseas.
Farm Bureau asks Congress and the Administration to begin work immediately to develop new markets for U.S. agricultural goods and to protect and advance U.S. agricultural interests around the world.
Farm Bureau also asks Congress and the Administration to act to protect U.S. agricultural interests in NAFTA. Specifically, renegotiation of the agreement must protect the gains achieved in agricultural trade and work to remove remaining barriers to trade with Canada and Mexico.
Through the appropriations process, Farm Bureau asks Congress to support funding for the Market Access Program ($200 million) and the Foreign Market Development Program ($37 million) which helps support build and expand export markets for ag products.
Updated: May 2017