The following statement may be attributed to Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation:
“The North American Free Trade agreement has helped America’s farmers and ranchers make significant gains in U.S. ag exports to Canada and Mexico, and the administration’s negotiating objectives for the agreement will maintain and improve agricultural trade with our nearest trading partners. We look forward to expanding our market opportunities with our North American neighbors even further by bringing this agreement into the 21st century.
“Free trade agreements have a proven track record of boosting revenue for U.S. agriculture. They create a level playing field for our farmers and ranchers to compete in the global marketplace, and NAFTA is no exception with ag exports to Canada and Mexico increasing from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38 billion in 2016. It is vital that we lock in that progress as the first point of talks to improve NAFTA.
“While we have seen tremendous success with NAFTA, there is still room for improvement. We need to address challenges that remain for our fruit and vegetable, dairy, and row crop and wheat farmers, and ensure all our farmers are free to get their products to market under modern and science-based standards. A modernized NAFTA can work for all of U.S. agriculture by building on the strong trading partnerships we’ve established over the last two decades.”
Farm Bureau priorities for a modernized NAFTA include:
- Updated, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary rules;
- Improved dispute settlement procedures for fresh fruits, vegetables and horticultural products;
- Eliminated or reduced Canadian tariff barriers to dairy, poultry eggs and wine, as well as the recently implemented barriers to ultra-filtered milk;
- Addressing the misuse of geographical indicators; and
- Developing a consistent, science-based approach to biotechnology.