Missouri’s farmers export massive amounts of products to foreign countries. We need to open new markets and fix existing issues with our trading partners.
Agriculture is a major component of foreign trade. Missouri Farm Bureau works for greater access to global markets through new trade agreements and enforcement of existing trade commitments. MOFB members can receive trade updates through our weekly newsletter and our podcast, Digging In with Missouri Farm Bureau. 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 an 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 give our farmers greater access to foreign markets.
Trade with North America
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented in 1994 to establish free trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico. It also requires that food safety standards be scientifically-based, nondiscriminatory and transparent. The agreement includes a dispute settlement system, 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.
A new agreement among the United States, Mexico, and Canada has been reached in principle but is awaiting Congressional approval. Called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, this updated agreement would provide additional access for several American agricultural commodities and bring the relationship into the 21st century. MOFB calls on Congress to act now and approve the USMCA.
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
In the spring of 2018, President Trump announced tariffs on Chinese goods to address Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property. 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.
Talks are ongoing between the U.S. and China in order to reach an agreement. President Trump announced a “Phase 1” agreement with China in October 2019 that would be very beneficial to farmers if enacted. Several steps will still need to occur before any deal is final. MOFB continues to encourage President Trump and Congress to push for a quick and positive resolution to the Chinese trade disputes.
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.