Don’t get rid of NAFTA. That was the message in a letter from more than 130 food and agricultural organizations to President Trump highlighting the importance of the trade agreement to the industry and urging him to preserve and build upon that success.
“With the productivity of U.S. agriculture growing faster than domestic demand, the U.S. food and agriculture industry — and the rural communities that depend on it — relies heavily on export markets to sustain prices and revenues,” the groups say in a letter sent to Trump on Tuesday.
Under NAFTA, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada have more than quadrupled, from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.6 billion in 2015.
According to the National Corn Growers Association, U.S. corn farmers have benefited substantially from NAFTA. Mexico is the number one market for U.S. corn and the number two market for U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Rising demand for feed and food has created new opportunities for intraregional trade. For instance, poultry and hog producers in Mexico rely heavily on imported feedstuffs to meet their country’s growing demand for meat.
Canada is also a top-ten market for U.S. corn, DDGS, and ethanol. All told, U.S. exports of corn to Mexico and Canada totaled more than 14 million metric tons in the 2015-16 marketing year—a value of $2.68 billion.