Sixty-two agricultural organizations are calling on U.S. trade officials and Congress to remain in the World Trade Organization (WTO). In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and eight senior U.S. representatives and senators, the groups ask to make sure that reforms in WTO policy are enacted, including expansion of U.S. access to foreign markets and reducing trade barriers.
The North American Meat Institute, Cargill, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Animal Health Institute, Produce Marketing Association, the Association of Equipment Manufactures are among the groups lobbying to remain in the WTO, touting success in the foreign export markets since 1995. The group said 20% of overall agricultural production in the United States is exported.
The group notes that the current transition to replace WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo is “strongly linked” to the success of proposed WTO reforms, including reinvigorating the agency’s negotiating function worldwide.
The WTO provides U.S. agriculture with “most-favored nation” treatment in 163 countries, the letter states, representing more than 80% of the global economy. However, the group notes that WTO rules have not kept pace with changes in the global economy, and the organization needs to improve its efforts to hold members accountable and to maintain WTO’s governance in settling trade issues.
Also signing the letter were the National Milk Producers Federation, National Corn Growers, American Soybean Association, Leather & Hide Council of America, American Dairy Products Institute and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.