The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) says the U.S. must reinforce North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) treaty commitments, enforce trade laws and improve conditions for competition and trade.
AFIA recently provided input to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on the renegotiation and modernization of NAFTA.
“We need to keep animal food exports strong and growing in the face of intense global competition, and we strongly support the efforts of the Trump administration to modernize and strengthen the U.S.’s trading relationship with Canada and Mexico,” said Joel G. Newman, AFIA’s president and CEO, in a statement.
Preserving and improving agreement
AFIA said there is room for improvement in NAFTA, such as in the areas of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, adopting consistent standards for animal health certification and other technical barriers to trade such as regulatory cooperation.
“Our priority is preserving the existing components of the NAFTA agreement that benefit the U.S. animal food industry, while looking for ways to improve this important trilateral agreement,” Newman said. “Since NAFTA was implemented in 1994, animal food exports to Canada and Mexico have almost tripled, growing from $725 million in 1994 to $2.7 billion in 2016.”
According to AFIA, Mexico and Canada are the U.S.’s largest and second largest export markets, respectively, for animal feed, animal feed ingredients and pet food.
“Exports in animal feed, pet food, ingredients or meat, milk and eggs equals more jobs in the U.S., which is very positive for U.S. agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Newman said.
NAFTA a top priority
Since USTR Robert Lighthizer was confirmed in May, AFIA has promised to actively work with the office to improve NAFTA.
“USTR is a key player under U.S. law in the development and implementation of U.S. international trade policy and leading our country’s trade negotiations,” AFIA said in May. “NAFTA … will be at the top of our list as the Trump administration moves forward with its plans to renegotiate the agreement’s terms with Canada and Mexico.”