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Month: August 2017

Farmers for Free Trade Lays Out Five NAFTA Modernization Goals

Bipartisan campaign to support agricultural trade recommends Administration focus on outcomes to ease cross-border shipments and create additional market access for American farmers and ranchers

(Washington, D.C.) – As North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) modernization negotiations begin, Farmers for Free Trade has outlined five goals for the Administration that support jobs in the agriculture industry and help farmers and ranchers continue to benefit from the regional pact. Farmers for Free Trade, led by former Senators Max Baucus and Richard Lugar, is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that informs, mobilizes and amplifies the voice of U.S. farmers and ranchers who depend on worldwide markets.

“We urge the Administration to seize this opportunity to keep America’s agriculture industry strong and prosperous,” said Sara Lilygren, Chairman of Farmers for Free Trade. “Since the implementation of NAFTA, production agriculture has seen a dramatic increase in exports to the United States’ top trading partners – Canada and Mexico – and has reaped tremendous economic benefits. At the same time, over the past 25 years, agriculture has become increasingly more sophisticated, utilizing advanced production practices supported by innovative technologies and world-class logistics, that make American farmers and ranchers the most productive and most profitable in the world.

“Farmers for Free Trade supports enhancements to NAFTA that take into consideration the competitive advantage a majority of American producers enjoy. Improvements should include the elimination of any remaining tariffs on trade in North America as well as address non-tariff barriers including the restrictive administration of tariff-rate quotas.”

The five goals Farmers for Free Trade recommends the Administration meet in NAFTA modernization negotiations are to:

  • Ensure and increase market access for U.S. agricultural products and services;
  • Reduce risk by implementing consistent and transparent customs and regulatory procedures;
  • Simplify and harmonize packaging and labeling requirements;
  • Enhance intellectual property protections for ag innovation; and
  • Create new channels for small and medium-sized ag producers serving customers through ecommerce channels.

Max Baucus, is a Democrat from Montana who served in the U.S. Senate for 6 terms before being tapped by President Obama to represent the U.S. as our ambassador to China, a post he held from 2014 to 2017. As ambassador, and prior to that as chair of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Baucus was a staunch advocate for American agriculture in all trade negotiations. Baucus now lives in Bozeman, Mont.

Richard Lugar is a Republican who represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate from 1977 to 2013. During his distinguished career, he served as chairman of both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.  He is President and CEO of the Lugar Center, which seeks to improve global food security, bipartisan governance, and nuclear security.  He also manages his family’s 604-acre corn, soybean, and tree farm in Indiana.

Sara Lilygren serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors where she brings over 37 years expertise in food and agriculture advocacy, including 20 years with the meat and processed food industry, Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as 15 years leading Tyson Foods, Inc. global corporate affairs.  Sara’s first-hand experience with numerous market access and trade policy challenges facing US farmers and ranchers since the mid-1980s make her ideally suited for this leadership role.

Copyright © 2019 Farmers for Free Trade. All rights reserved.

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