A bipartisan group of U.S. senators are urging members of President Donald Trump’s administration to use the renegotiation process for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to break down unfair trade barriers and improve market access for American poultry farmers, processors and exporters.
Ten senators signed a letter expressing those concerns to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
“With the ratification of NAFTA in 1994, the United States, Canada and Mexico committed to a shared goal of eliminating tariffs on goods exchanged between the three nations,” the senators wrote. “Unfortunately, in practice, this goal has proven difficult to achieve. This has been particularly true for American poultry, which continues to face trade barriers in North America more than 20 years after NAFTA’s enactment.”
“Contrary to the promises of NAFTA, Canada has continued to impose stringent, protectionist trade policies that limit sales for American poultry exporters. As a result, the Administration’s commitment to improving the terms of NAFTA presents American poultry exporters with a unique opportunity to eliminate Canadian trade barriers, which have hampered growth for more than 20 years. We strongly urge you to focus on this issue during your talks with Canadian trade representatives, and we expect that progress will be made.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia; Tom Carper, D-Delaware, Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas; John Boozman, R-Arkansas; Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland; Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland; Mark Warner, D-Virginia; and Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi.
The full text of the letter can be seen on Isakson’s website.
Government officials also recently received a letter from the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, stressing NAFTA's importance to the poultry industry.