By Ben Conner, USW Director of Policy
With the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), U.S. agriculture groups are looking for other ways to improve trade policy across the Asia-Pacific region. This week, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) joined 86 other food and agriculture organizations in a letter to President Donald Trump highlighting the importance of this region for U.S. agriculture.
Noting the large and growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region, the organizations wrote that reducing or eliminating tariffs and other restrictive agricultural policies would help consumers see more of the higher quality food and agricultural products they desire but cannot supply locally.
The letter also highlights the importance of free trade for agriculture, especially given the context of aggressive trade negotiations by competing countries looking for markets in the region.
“While many in our sector strongly supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we hope future agreements build upon the valuable aspects of that agreement to increase our market access in the Asia-Pacific,” the organizations wrote. “We welcome an opportunity to work with your Administration to ensure that America’s farmers, ranchers, processors and food companies do not fall behind … in this vitally important economic region.”
With unprofitable farm gate prices, a challenging volume of grain stocks and a strong U.S. dollar, remaining competitive in the growing overseas markets like those in the Asia-Pacific region is vital to the economic health of U.S. farmers. And USW believes healthy food and agriculture sectors are also a vital part of meeting demand around the world.
That is why the letter, with USW among the signatories, specifically expresses the willingness of these sectors to work with the Administration to “preserve and expand” trade policy gains, both for the sake of U.S. farmers and their customers who benefit from expanded access to quality products.