On Thursday, the North American Meat Institute joined a coalition of 62 leading U.S. agriculture stakeholders in calling for continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization.
"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," says Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. "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. Since its inception, the WTO has helped resolve complex global trade disputes to the benefit of the entire food value chain and American consumers."
The group sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and leaders of the Senate Finance, House Ways and Means, and Senate and House Agriculture Committees. The letter seeks WTO reforms to enhance American agriculture's access to foreign markets and to maintain transparency and accountability critical to future export growth that will support American jobs. The letter also identifies characteristics desired in the next WTO director general, as the current search to replace outgoing Director General Roberto Azevedo enters its crucial final stages.
Throughout the WTO's first two decades, overall trade in goods has nearly quadrupled while WTO members' import tariffs have declined by an average of 15%. More than half of world trade is now tariff-free. The WTO affords U.S. agriculture producers and exporters most-favored nation treatment in 163 countries, representing more than 80% of the global economy. Continued U.S. membership and active participation in the WTO will help ensure that necessary reforms are undertaken, and that the WTO will continue to play an important and effective role in the economic development of the United States and our trading partners.
Signatories of the letter include American Farm Bureau, 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 other industry groups.