Farm groups tell Lighthizer to stay in the WTO |

Farm groups tell Lighthizer to stay in the WTO

A coalition of 62 U.S. agriculture groups have told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that the United States should continue its membership in the World Trade Organization.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the WTO and questioned U.S. membership in the organization.

“There is no doubt that the Uruguay Round, along with many other rounds, provided a more stable world trading environment for U.S. agriculture,” the coalition wrote, noting that the WTO “affords U.S. agriculture producers and exporters most-favored nation treatment in 163 countries, representing more than 80% of the global economy.”

“While the WTO has been beneficial for U.S. agriculture, its rules have not kept pace with changes in the global economy, and improvement is needed to hold members accountable and improve the organizations’ governance,” the coalition continued.

“We appreciate and support efforts to provide needed reforms. Continued U.S. membership and active participation will help ensure that necessary reforms are undertaken, and that the WTO will continue to play an important and effective role in economic development of the United States and our trading partners. As long as exports are important to U.S. agriculture, WTO membership will be essential as well.”

The groups signing the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, Corn Refiners Association, United Fresh Produce Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and the North American Meat institute.

The letter was also sent to leaders of the Senate Finance, House Ways & Means, and Senate and House Agriculture Committees.

“U.S. membership in the WTO is essential to preserving the rules-based trading system that has paved the way for the significant growth observed in U.S. meat and poultry trade over the last few decades, with 2019 exports exceeding $19.4 billion,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts, who released the letter.

“To remain competitive globally, the U.S. meat and poultry industry depends on strong, enforceable trade agreements that embrace science-based, international standards set forth by the WTO, and other standard-setting organizations,” Potts said. “Since its inception, the WTO has helped resolve complex global trade disputes to the benefit of the entire food value chain and American consumers.” ❖


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