U.S. Wheat Organizations Share Positions on NAFTA with USTR
Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2017) – Today, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) CEO Chandler Goule and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Director of Policy Ben Conner testified to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.
Since the Trump administration announced its intention to renegotiate NAFTA, the wheat industry has urged the government to not harm its trade relationships with Canada and Mexico.
“NAFTA has been one of the most advantageous trade agreements for wheat farmers in U.S. history,” said Goule. “By removing import tariffs, NAFTA has established a crucial market for wheat producers in Mexico.”
“U.S. Wheat Associates has been helping to facilitate the relationship between our farmers and their Mexican customers for over 45 years, but that relationship took off with NAFTA. It is a highly successful partnership that resulted in Mexico being our largest customer the past two years.” Conner said.
“While Mexico is an important customer to the U.S. wheat grower, some improvements can be made that benefit the food and agriculture sectors in both countries,” continued Goule. “For instance, a new agreement should include the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules that the three countries already agreed to as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The SPS provisions of TPP provided more tools to address problems.”
Conner also pressed for resolution of barriers that are a disincentive for U.S. wheat farmers to deliver wheat to nearby Canadian elevators.
“U.S. farmers should be able to deliver their wheat to a Canadian elevator and not automatically receive the lowest grade because it was grown on our side of the border. This is a no-brainer, and it is already Canada’s legal obligation under existing trade agreements.”
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NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.
USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.