After President Trump signed an executive order to withdraw from negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), several agricultural organizations have expressed significant concerns.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall pointed out that U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to over $38 billion today, due in large part to NAFTA, saying any renegotiation must recognize the gains achieved by American agriculture and ensure that U.S. ag trade with Canada and Mexico remains strong.
“American agriculture is virtually always a winner when trade agreements remove barriers to U.S. crop and livestock exports because we impose very few compared to other nations. We have much to gain through strong trade agreements. AFBF pledges to work with the administration to help ensure that American agriculture can compete on a level playing field in markets around the world. But we need the administration’s commitment to ensuring we do not lose the ground gained — whether in the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, or other parts of the world.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also raised concern about Trump’s proposal to renegotiate NAFTA.
“TPP and NAFTA have long been convenient political punching bags, but the reality is that foreign trade has been one of the greatest success stories in the long history of the U.S. beef industry,” said Tracy Brunner, NCBA President. “Fact is American cattle producers are already losing out on $400,000 in sales every day because we don’t have TPP, and since NAFTA was implemented, exports of American-produced beef to Mexico have grown by more than 750 percent. We’re especially concerned that the Administration is taking these actions without any meaningful alternatives in place that would compensate for the tremendous loss that cattle producers will face without TPP or NAFTA.”
Feed sales have also been on the up and up, but that could come to an end without these trade agreements. According to the American Feed Industry Association, U.S. agriculture exports, including commercial feed, are increasing despite a global slowdown in overall trade. Much of this growing demand is in the Asia-Pacific region, but mounting competition and new trade agreements within that region that exclude the U.S. continue to block opportunities for the U.S. feed industry to capture this demand.
“TPP was intended to assist the U.S. in setting a global trade agenda, addressing international competition, and combating continued market share losses in the region,” said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman. “Without TPP, the U.S. feed industry will lose more than the opportunities provided by tariff reductions. We will lose the opportunity to facilitate new trade relationships by addressing larger sanitary and phytosanitary issues, environmental protections, domestic job creation, and regulatory cooperation.”
Soybeans are the nation’s largest agricultural export, and markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America continue to grow in their potential as buyers of U.S. soy. But the American Soybean Association said the biggest beneficiary from TPP was the American livestock industry–in the form of increased meat and dairy exports–which represents the largest domestic market for soybean meal.
“Moving forward, we expect to see a plan in place as soon as possible to engage the TPP partner nations and capture the value that we lose with the withdrawal today. With net farm income down by over 40 percent from levels just a few years ago, we need trade deals with the Asia-Pacific countries to make up for the $4.4 billion in annual net farm income being lost by farmers from not moving forward with the TPP. Also, we expect a seat at the table to help ensure these agreements in whatever form they take are crafted to capture their full value for soybean farmers,” said (ASA) President Ron Moore . “Trade is too important for us to support anything less.”