Many farmers may not think much about where their corn and soybeans go beyond the local elevator. But Ohio is the ninth largest exporting state, sending $52.1 billion in goods to 216 countries and territories, including more than $4 billion in agricultural exports.
Normalize trade with Cuba
Cuba is home to 11 million people and just 90 miles from the Florida coast. Financing restrictions have put U.S. producers at a competitive disadvantage with other international suppliers who deliver goods into the Cuban market. Cuba imports about 80 percent of its food, although U.S. market share has declined in recent years. American Farm Bureau has joined a coalition of agriculture organizations calling for normalized trade between the United States and Cuba in order to benefit both American farmers and Cuban consumers.
Pass Trade Promotion Authority
The Trade Promotion Authority allows Congress to consult on trade agreements but also requires up or down votes without amendments that could jeopardize years of negotiations with foreign governments.
“Farmers and ranchers need access to new markets around the world. The U.S. is on the verge of completing ambitious trade negotiations from Europe to Asia, but we cannot move forward unless barriers such as high tariffs and nonscientific standards are addressed,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman in testimony to the House Agriculture Committee. “We must forge deals that knock down those trade barriers. Getting there means giving the president the Trade Promotion Authority necessary to reach those market-opening agreements.”
Advance Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations
The Trans-Pacific Partnership aims to open trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Ohio exports $28 billion annually in goods to all TPP markets. Compared to other countries participating in the partnership, Japan has placed more restrictions on U.S. agricultural imports. Japan is the fourth largest export destination for U.S. agricultural products. The U.S. and Japan are currently negotiating a bilateral trade agreement, which is necessary for an overall TPP agreement. Among Farm Bureau’s objectives for the negotiations are the inclusion of all agricultural products and policies, elimination of nontariff trade barriers and ensuring market access for biotechnology products.
Improve the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
This comprehensive trade agreement between the United States and the European Union aims to expand the world’s largest commercial relationship with $1 trillion of trade in goods and services annually. Barriers to the export of U.S. beef, pork and poultry, along with the slow approval process for biotech products are major areas of interest in the negotiation. The EU has made the ‘precautionary principle’ the focus of its approach to food safety, which the United States believes creates scientifically unjustified barriers to trade, leading to substantial declines in the export of corn and soybeans to the EU. The United States also is opposed to the EU’s protection of geographical names for foods that would inhibit the competitiveness of U.S. products. The negotiation proposal also calls for working toward the elimination of tariffs.