USDBC Presses for Immediate Ratification of USMCASeptember 17, 2019
September 13, 2019
Ambassador Robert Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Dear Mr. Ambassador:
I am writing on behalf of the US Dry Bean Council to ask you to find a way forward and ensure ratification of the U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) as soon as possible. I know you have heard from a comprehensive spectrum of agricultural trade groups encouraging immediate ratification. We ourselves have sent several letters to this effect to both Congress and the Administration.
This has been an exceptionally difficult year for U.S. agriculture due to a number of reasons that you are no doubt familiar with, involving weather events and global trade tensions. U.S. agricultural exports have historically been a standout of the U.S. economy, posting exceptional performance and income, even during the most difficult years when other sectors of the economy were under duress. Through 2018, agricultural exports have increased to almost $140 billion, 42% percent growth since 2008, supporting over a million jobs in the U.S. Through 2019, over 50% of U.S. agricultural trade has gone to nations with whom we have a trade agreement either bilateral or through WTO accession (source: Foreign Agricultural Service). As a specialty crop, U.S. dry beans are particularly hard hit by the events of the past year as we have seen our exports, sales, and income decrease as a result of trade tensions with many trade partners.
Mexico is our top single nation export market, one where we enjoy the tremendous competitive advantages of proximity and duty free market access. However, the current trade tensions have been a catalyst in pushing Mexico to make use of non NAFTA duty free quotas, in an attempt to establish increasingly close trade ties with some of our competitors, such as Argentina. If we were to see our market access to Mexico, as codified in NAFTA, compromised in any way, it would send reverberations through the entire value chain of our industry that would not be easy to overcome. We stand with our colleagues throughout the agricultural trade community in asking you to find common ground on USMCA immediately and we know you are working to that end. If we can provide you with any additional details on the critical nature of USMCA to the U.S. dry bean industry, please let me know. We seek nothing less than full and immediate ratification. I thank you in advance for your work and leadership on this agreement to date and the efforts to see this agreement come to fruition.
On Behalf of the Members of the U.S. Dry Bean Council
Northarvest Bean Growers, Minnesota/North Dakota
North Central Bean Dealers, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota
Michigan Bean Dealers
Michigan Bean Shippers
Nebraska Dry Bean Commission
Rocky Mountain Bean Dealers – Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
Wyoming Bean Commission
Colorado Dry Bean Administrative Committee
Washington Bean Dealers
Idaho Bean Dealers
California Dry Bean Advisory Board
California Bean Shippers
Russel E Womack, Texas
Mountain High Organics