May 18, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – The Implementing Team of the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade (Dialogue) today commended U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for officially notifying Congress given the Trump administration’s previously announced intent to negotiate a “modernization” of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada.
“Our North American trading partners represent U.S. food and agriculture’s largest export market, with total U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico more than quadrupling since NAFTA came into effect,” said Dialogue Implementing Team Co-Chairs Gary Martin, president and chief executive officer of the North American Export Grain Association, and William Westman, senior vice president for international affairs with the North American Meat Institute. “As modernization of NAFTA is negotiated, it is critical to preserve the considerable gains that have been achieved for U.S. food and agriculture. We look forward to consulting with the administration, and interacting with Congress and other entities to incorporate the views of the U.S. Food & Ag Dialogue for Trade as the U.S. negotiating position is developed.”
More than 200 associations, companies and individuals nationwide currently participate in the Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade.
The USTR notification begins a 90-day period during which Trump administration trade officials are required under existing law to consult with Congress on the objectives of the NAFTA negotiations. Thirty days prior to the start of negotiations, the administration is required to make public a “detailed and comprehensive summary” of the specific U.S. objectives for a modernized NAFTA.
One of every 10 acres of U.S. farmland grows agricultural products destined for Mexico and Canada. In addition, U.S. exports of pork, dairy, beef and poultry products to Mexico totaled nearly $5 billion in value in 2016. Total U.S. food and agriculture exports to Mexico and Canada has grown from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.6 billion in 2015. The food and agriculture sector supports more than 15 million American jobs and is the largest U.S. manufacturing jobs sector.