With USTR touting the prospect of negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) closing with a deal in November, the food and agriculture industry is calling on the United States Trade Representative to negotiate a well-designed IPEF that addresses non-tariff barriers and to ensure that the substance of the agreement drives the timing for its conclusion. Such an agreement could represent an opportunity for American food and agricultural producers to more reliably and readily reach a significant, growing region.
A coalition of 24 food and agriculture organizations signed a letter to United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai urging her to ensure critical non-tariff barriers are addressed in IEPF negotiations (a copy of the letter is included below).
Please reach out to Shawna Morris [email protected] with any questions.
July 7, 2023
The Honorable Katherine Tai
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508
Dear Ambassador Tai,
The U.S. agriculture community appreciates the administration’s focus on advancing American interests through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). American food and agriculture exports are a vital component of the American economy, totaling nearly $200 billion in 2022, and providing jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities and throughout the supply chain in every corner of the country. Unfortunately, the once-consistent current account surplus in food and agricultural products, which benefited American workers, is now reaching its end. The latest forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 2023 predicts a food and agriculture trade deficit of $17 billion for the United States.
In your pursuit of a worker-centric trade policy, enormous untapped opportunity exists through opening new markets to provide for everyone, from farmers and food manufacturing workers to truck drivers, port workers and grain elevator operators. That opportunity to open markets for American workers is particularly notable in the rapidly growing economies represented in IPEF that are hungry for American food and agriculture products.
While the agriculture community views IPEF as an opportunity to advance U.S. trade policy, we also believe that it is not a wholly sufficient avenue to ensure the U.S agriculture industry’s competitiveness and continued growth in the region.
In parallel to IPEF negotiations, it is critical that the United States resume its long-dormant pursuit of comprehensive free trade agreements and redouble its efforts to expand export markets for food and agricultural products made in the United States by reducing tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports. As you know, our competitors – most notably across Europe, South America and Oceania – have aggressively wielded tariff-cutting, traditional free trade agreements to the advantage of their producers, and to the detriment of American farmers and producers. Agricultural products are bought and sold based on price, and U.S. competitors are increasingly getting price advantages over the United States due to these preferential tariffs. In addition to delivering tariff reductions for exporters from those competitor regions, the agreements have provided them the opportunity to shape global trading rules to better align with their policy priorities. The United States must begin to flip the script.
In the interim, a well-designed IPEF could represent a key opportunity for American agricultural producers to reach a significant, growing region, and deliver for farmers and ranchers across the United States and consumers around the world. As talk of a November deal grows, substance, not timing, must drive the conclusion of negotiations to ensure a commercially meaningful result.
To fully capture the potential of the framework, IPEF must tackle key nontariff barriers that are hindering American exporters, by securing commitments on:
American agriculture is a global leader in sustainable production and utilizes new, innovative, and efficient practices that will enable us to feed a growing world population. Unfortunately, our industry’s prowess is being greatly limited by nontariff barriers in key markets. As an early step, we strongly encourage the administration to ensure that the above priorities are resolved so as not to be unwarranted non-tariff barriers. We look forward to working together to secure a framework that works for American farmers, workers, producers, exporters and consumers, while we continue to seek a broader resumption of comprehensive FTAs to more robustly advance a worker-centered trade policy driven by U.S. priorities.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Seed Trade Association
American Soybean Association
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
Corn Refiners Association
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Chicken Council
National Corn Growers Association
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Grain and Feed Association
National Milk Producers Federation
National Pork Producers Council
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Sorghum Producers
National Turkey Federation
North American Export Grain Association
North American Meat Institute
North American Renderers Association
U.S. Apple Association
U.S. Dairy Export Council
U.S. Grains Council
Washington State Potato Commission