North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations need to protect valuable market gains for U.S. agriculture while addressing remaining challenges in our closest international markets, Jason Perdue, a row crop, beef and poultry farmer from York, Nebraska, told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade today.
“NAFTA has been beneficial for farmers, ranchers and associated businesses all across the United States, Canada and Mexico for decades,” Perdue said in testimony on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation. According to Farm Bureau, agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.1 billion in 2016. Perdue, who also serves as president of the York County Farm Bureau, said that NAFTA has been a boon to trade in his state, with ag exports from Nebraska reaching $1.5 billion in 2016 alone.
U.S. farmers and ranchers look forward to building on those gains with a modernized NAFTA, Perdue said.
“U.S. agriculture depends upon a growing international economy that provides opportunities for farmers and ranchers to sell their products, and a modernized NAFTA will help expand those market opportunities for America’s farm and ranch businesses,” he said.
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.