|WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2017 – The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) submitted a joint statement to the Trump administration this week regarding the performance of free trade agreements.
In response to a solicitation for comments from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) regarding the administration’s assessment of free trade agreements and the nation’s trade relations with other members of the World Trade Organization, the NGFA and NAEGA identified opportunities to update and modernize U.S. free trade agreements and highlighted the urgency in initiating trade negotiations with key Asia-Pacific markets.
Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement “has created a void that foreign export competitors are aggressively exploiting to the detriment of U.S. agricultural exports and our nation’s economy,” stated the NGFA and NAEGA.
The two groups said key areas that would preserve and enhance U.S. agricultural competitiveness and facilitate trade include not only expanded market access and tariff concessions, but also:
- improved regulatory consistency and cooperation;
- removal of non-tariff barriers that lack scientific merit;
- enabling innovation of information technologies;
- recognizing comparable regulatory systems for assessing the safety of plant breeding technologies;
- developing a consistent approach for managing low-level presence (LLP) of biotechnology-enhanced products that have undergone a safety assessment and are approved for use in a third country, but not yet approved for import by a U.S. free trade agreement-member country; and
- ensuring safe and orderly passage for rail and truck freight transportation.
The organizations also noted their concern about the trading relationship between the United States and the European Union (EU), given the “many unscientifically based and unjustified barriers” erected by the EU to block U.S. grain and other agricultural products from entering its market. “NGFA and NAEGA urge the administration to work with the European Union to remove the barriers and promote a better trading relationship,” the comments stated.
The NGFA and NAEGA concluded by noting they are eager “to work actively, constructively and expeditiously with President Trump and the administration’s trade team” to develop strategies that will “preserve, improve and build upon existing and new trade relationships to benefit U.S. and world consumers.”
The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,050 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. The NGFA also consists of 29 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and has strategic alliances with Pet Food Institute and North American Export Grain Association.
NAEGA, established in 1912, consists of private and publicly owned companies and farmer-owned cooperatives that are involved in and provide services to the bulk grain and oilseed exporting industry. NAEGA-member companies ship and support the vast majority of the highly competitive and fungible U.S. grain export supply. NAEGA is dedicated to providing for efficient, predictable, reliable and expanded trade via responsible commercial and official practices. Through a reliance on member action and support, NAEGA acts to accomplish its mission from its office in Washington D.C., and in markets throughout the world.