The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) have submitted a joint statement to the Trump administration regarding the performance of free trade agreements.
In response to a solicitation for comments from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) regarding the administration’s assessment of free trade agreements and the nation’s trade relations with other members of the World Trade Organization, the NGFA and NAEGA identified opportunities to update and modernize U.S. free trade agreements and highlighted the urgency in initiating trade negotiations with key Asia-Pacific markets.
Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement “has created a void that foreign export competitors are aggressively exploiting to the detriment of U.S. agricultural exports and our nation’s economy,” stated the NGFA and NAEGA.
The two groups said key areas that would preserve and enhance U.S. agricultural competitiveness and facilitate trade include not only expanded market access and tariff concessions, but also:
- Improved regulatory consistency and cooperation
- Removal of non-tariff barriers that lack scientific merit
- Enabling innovation of information technologies
- Recognizing comparable regulatory systems for assessing the safety of plant breeding technologies
- Developing a consistent approach for managing low-level presence (LLP) of biotechnology-enhanced products that have undergone a safety assessment and are approved for use in a third country, but not yet approved for import by a U.S. free trade agreement-member country
- Ensuring safe and orderly passage for rail and truck freight transportation
The organizations also noted their concern about the trading relationship between the United States and the European Union (EU), given the “many unscientifically based and unjustified barriers” erected by the EU to block U.S. grain and other agricultural products from entering its market. “NGFA and NAEGA urge the administration to work with the European Union to remove the barriers and promote a better trading relationship,” the comments said.
The NGFA and NAEGA concluded by noting they are eager “to work actively, constructively and expeditiously with President Trump and the administration’s trade team” to develop strategies that will “preserve, improve and build upon existing and new trade relationships to benefit U.S. and world consumers.”