Advancing action on new market access for U.S. agriculture exports remains vital to America’s agriculture sector. More than 50 food and agriculture groups signed on to a coalition letter to Congress to make the case for pursuit of new trade agreements and increased trade engagement in Congress. The letter urges Congress to advance legislation to establish new Trade Promotion Authority and to provide direction to the Executive Branch about the importance of expanding new markets for America’s food and agriculture products. A copy of the letter is below.

Dear [Member of Congress]:

For decades, the United States has exported dramatically more food and agricultural products than we have imported. For 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture now forecasts that the U.S. will run a food and agriculture trade deficit of $14.5 billion.

This should be a wake-up call regarding America’s declining economic influence in the world due to our failure to advance new tariff-reducing trade agreements. We respectfully urge you to advance legislation to establish new Trade Promotion Authority and to provide direction to the Executive Branch about the importance of expanding new markets for America’s food and agriculture products.

Agriculture-related industry is a driver of the American economy, but it is being thwarted by barriers to market access. With 95% of the world’s consumers overseas, the advantages of being the world’s most efficient and sustainable agricultural system are not being fully realized. Of course, the effects of this limitation reach far beyond the farm. While over one million American jobs exist because of agriculture trade, approximately 750,000 of those jobs are off-farm. Indeed, twice as many Americans now work in the manufacturing of agricultural products as in the manufacturing cars and trucks.

We appreciate the efforts of the Biden administration to advance trade relations, particularly through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). To the extent that this initiative is able to address specific sanitary/phytosanitary and other non-tariff barriers to trade, it can be highly constructive. We urge that the U.S. build on this initiative by also undertaking negotiations in pursuit of new tariff-reducing trade agreements.

The essential question is not only whether the U.S. is working for new market access, but also how well the U.S. is doing so relative to our economic competitors. Regrettably, America is falling badly behind. Between 2010 and 2020, China and the European Union enjoyed over twice as much advantage from trade agreement tariff reductions as the U.S. In this decade, our situation to date is far worse. The U.S. has not implemented a comprehensive trade agreement that opens new markets in over a decade. Meanwhile, just over a year ago, China added the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to its portfolio of trade agreements and displaced the U.S. as the European Union’s largest trading partner. China, the world’s largest trader, is establishing major economic ties in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa, and has requested participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a U.S. led strategic initiative from which the U.S. precipitously withdrew in 2017.

Falling badly behind in global economic influence has serious, enduring consequences. Taking markets from established competitors is far more difficult than establishing footholds as markets open. Further, economic competitors use trade agreements to establish rules of trade that give them long term structural advantages, such as the European Union’s monopolistic geographic indications trade policies. Thus, in establishing trade relationships, first movers have a major advantage. We note that even before economic sanctions achieved current prominence as a foreign policy tool, foreign policy experts frequently cited economic influence as a critical element of strategic capability.

We submit that a new Trade Promotion Authority can and should respect domestic economic needs of the U.S.  The overwhelming bipartisan support for ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) stand as a model for more robust standards in many areas.

Thank you for your consideration.


Agribusiness Association of Iowa

Almond Alliance

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Feed Industry Association

American Seed Trade Association

American Soybean Association

Animal Health Institute

Carolina Feed Industry Association

Center for Dairy Excellence

Colorado Dairy Farmers

Corn Refiners Association

Dairy Producers of New Mexico

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative

Farmers for Free Trade

Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Grain and Feed Association of Illinois

Idaho Dairymen’s Association, Inc.

International Dairy Foods Association

International Fresh Produce Association

Kansas Livestock Association

Minnesota Milk Producers Association

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Corn Growers Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Grain & Feed Association

National Milk Producers Federation

National Oilseed Processors Association

National Turkey Federation

Nebraska State Dairy Association

North American Meat Institute

North Carolina Dairy Producer Association

Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance, Inc.

Northwest Horticultural Council

Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Oregon Dairy Farmers Association

Oregon Women for Agriculture

Pacific Northwest Grain & Feed Association

Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania

Sweetener Users Association

Texas Association of Dairymen

Texas Grain and Feed Association

United Dairy Farmers of Florida

U.S. Apple Association

U.S. Dairy Export Council

U.S. Dry Bean Council

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council

USA Rice

Vermont Dairy Producers Alliance

Virginia State Dairymen’s Association