Background

Staying up to date on trade issues, specifically issues affecting the agriculture industry, is a continuous job for the staff at Missouri Farm Bureau, but it is one that is carried out with the utmost care. Agriculture is a major component to foreign trade. Therefore, Missouri Farm Bureau works to communicate current trade issues with its members and all Missourians. Missouri Farm Bureau members can receive trade updates through our weekly newsletter and also our podcast, Digging In with Missouri Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau works for greater access to global markets through new trade agreements and enforcement of existing trade commitments.

The Trump administration has committed to tackling trade issues but the current trade landscape is uncertain. Congress is set to consider approval of the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this year, a move that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with a newer, updated agreement. In addition, the U.S. continues to negotiate a deal with China that would address existing problems between the two countries and solve an ongoing battle over tariffs. MOFB will continue to advocate for passage of the USMCA, a solution with China, and additional agreements that will provide our agriculture products with greater access to foreign markets.

Trade with North America

Background

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was first implemented in 1994 and removed significant barriers to agricultural trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Complications with this trade agreement in recent years have caused a rift in American agricultural exports to these countries.

NAFTA has always been a trade agreement that establishes free trade among its member countries. It also requires that food safety standards be scientifically based, nondiscriminatory and transparent. A dispute settlement system is included in the agreement, including mechanisms for resolving countervailing and anti-dumping duty issues. However, the 25-year-old agreement does not address many modern issues and needs to be updated.

Status

Talks are ongoing between the U.S. and China in order to reach an agreement to remove tariffs. Most recently, the Trump administration increased tariffs on Chinese goods in reaction to perceived bad faith in trade negotiations. The situation remains tense and uncertain, but MOFB continues to closely follow all developments as they affect Missouri farmers.

Missouri Farm Bureau Policy

We encourage the United States Department of Agriculture and Congress to make every effort to increase exports of agricultural commodities.

We believe the U.S. government should continue to closely monitor the enforcement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its effect on U.S. agriculture. We oppose changes to NAFTA which would relax existing commitments made by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

Trade with China

Background

In the spring of 2018, President Trump announced tariffs on Chinese goods to address Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property. In the months since the announcement, the U.S. and China have gone back and forth levying tariffs and discussing potential solutions that will satisfy both countries. Agricultural commodities markets generally reacted unfavorably to the escalating tariff war. USDA announced that it would provide assistance to farmers who have been negatively impacted by the tariffs through the Market Facilitation Program.

Status

Talks are ongoing between the U.S. and China in order to reach an agreement. Most recently, the Trump administration announced that it would delay raising any additional tariffs on Chinese goods, as significant progress has been made in negotiating a deal. No details have been released and there is no sign of when an agreement might be completed.

Missouri Farm Bureau Policy

We encourage the United States Department of Agriculture and Congress to make every effort to increase exports of agricultural commodities.

China should adhere to the rules set by the WTO and should be closely monitored to ensure agricultural trade commitments are upheld.