Trump and Pence told trade crucial for feed and agri-business

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Industry representatives have reminded the incoming US administration of the importance of trade for feed ingredient and agricultural producers.

Mexico, China and Canada remain some of the biggest markets for US feed ingredient exports, wrote members of the American Soybean Association (ASA) in an open letter to incoming US President, Donald Trump, and next US vice-president, Mike Pence.

The incoming administration is set to officially take office on January 20.

"Throughout the campaign, Mr Trump and Gov Pence committed to having farmer voices at the table when decisions are made that affect our industry,” said Ron Moore, ASA president. “Nowhere is the potential effect more serious than in our trading relationships and as such we look forward to partnering with the Trump Administration on these issues.”

The letter was backed by a coalition of feed crop grower and agricultural producer organizations including the US Canola Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, the National Farmers Union and National Sorghum Producers.

It is vital for the incoming administration to understand the role of trade and trade agreements for agricultural producers, they warned. “The importance of trade to America’s farmers and ranchers cannot be overstated,” they added. “The share of US agricultural production exported overseas is 20% by volume, with some sectors being much higher.” 

Some feed crop producers, like those raising soybeans, export more than 60% of the crop produced, continued the letter to Trump.

“We know that securing positive benefits for American farmers, ranchers, and workers in trade will be a priority in your Administration,” they wrote. “This includes enforcing existing agreements so that other countries abide by their commitments, as well as expanding market access for US producers through new agreements.”

China, Canada and Mexico markets

Currently, the agricultural and feed ingredient markets in China, Canada and Mexico are the first, second and third largest customers for farmers in the US, stressed the trade representatives.

“US agricultural exports in FY-2016 were nearly $27bn to China, over $24bn to Canada, and nearly $19bn to Mexico. Disrupting US agricultural exports to these nations would have devastating consequences for our farmers and the many American processing and transportation industries and workers supported by these exports.”

Although the letter did not explicitly mention passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal several have supported, the trade groups involved did say they were anticipating the new administration to increase access to the Asia-Pacific region.

“America’s farmers and ranchers also look forward to working with you to expand access to new markets, particularly in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, beginning with Japan,” they said. “New fair trade agreements are needed to enable US farmers, ranchers, and agricultural exporters to compete – and win – in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world.”

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