Agriculture Exhorts Trump to Open Trade

WASHINGTON - Feb 7/17 - SNS -- Agricultural organizations and companies in the United States have joined together to pressure President Trump to build strong trade relationships with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

In a letter to the president, the organizations argued, "Reducing and eliminating tariffs and other restrictive agricultural policies in this region will help American workers in our sector compete, creating an opportunity to supply Asian markets with high-quality food and agricultural goods.

"We hope your Administration will create such opportunities for our sector by deepening U.S. economic engagement in this critical region while responding to the Asia-only regional trade agreements being negotiated by our foreign competitors.

"(M)any in our sector strongly supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership," the letter stressed, "(W)e hope future agreements build upon the valuable aspects of that agreement to increase our market access in the Asia-Pacific."

The letter argued, "Economic growth in America's heartland is inextricably linked to the long-established productivity of U.S. food and agricultureĀ—an industry that is a true American success story. The food and agricultural industry from farm to fork employs more than 15 million Americans. The U.S. food and beverage industry alone represents 12% of all U.S. manufacturing jobs, making it the largest employer in the manufacturing sector. Our industry has improved the nutrition and economic wellbeing of generations of American families and is one of our nation's most efficient and competitive industries.

"America's food and agriculture sector is poised to grow internationally, building upon its well deserved reputation for high quality products, trusted brands and constant innovation. Our ability to continue to create jobs and support economic growth in rural America depends on maintaining and increasing access to markets outside the United States through existing and future trade agreements.

"With more than 95% of our potential customers living outside our borders, expanding access to international markets is essential for our future success. The Asia-Pacific region is one such market that is critical if we are to attain our future export potential."