Governors, ag needs your help. A group of 168 companies and trade associations from across America’s food and agriculture sectors recently delivered letters to all 50 state governors, state agriculture commissioner, and each state’s leader of economic development. The letter notes the Administration’s “do no harm” pledge regarding food and agriculture in NAFTA negotiations but notes potential for substantial adverse economic consequences from some negotiating positions.
The signatories ask:
“We encourage NAFTA negotiations to continue without the threat of withdrawal… We respectfully request that you let President Trump know that you support a modernized NAFTA that maintains and enhances food and agricultural trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, and recognize that withdrawal from the accord would have adverse impacts.
The letter cites the more than 22 million jobs are supported by food and agriculture and that the industry accounts for 20 percent of the U.S. economy. The letter also notes that U.S. food and agriculture supports more manufacturing jobs than any other manufacturing sector and is considered “the economic backbone of rural America.”
The letter states:
While it has been asserted that negotiations could be completed and a new agreement approved subsequent to issuance of notice of withdrawal, but prior to actual withdrawal, that observation underestimates the business complexity, integrated supply chains and contracting periods involved.
The letter offers a partial list of harmful, unintended consequences, including:
• Fueling additional uncertainty among trading partners who are likely to explore non-U.S.-origin sources of supply.
• Triggering substantial and immediate responses in commodity markets.
• Causing contracts to be renegotiated or cancelled.
• Delaying sales or losing them altogether.
• Enabling foreign competitors to seize U.S. export markets.
• Immediately driving substantial litigation, even before withdrawal took effect.
Full text of the letter can be found here.