The NGFA and 61 other U.S. agriculture stakeholders have urged the Trump administration to remain in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and for Congress to vote against any resolution that would end U.S. membership in the international trade body.
In a Sept. 23 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the groups emphasized support for efforts to reform WTO rules, noting that “improvement is needed” to hold WTO members accountable and improve the organizations’ governance, including the selection of a new director-general. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo stepped down from the role last month, a full year before his second term was scheduled to end. A new WTO leader is scheduled to be selected this fall.
“Continued U.S. membership and active participation will help ensure that necessary reforms are undertaken…,” the letter states. “As long as exports are important to U.S. agriculture, WTO membership will be essential, as well.”
U.S. agriculture is heavily dependent on exports, the letter stated, with more than 20 percent of total U.S. agricultural production destined for foreign markets. The WTO grants U.S. agricultural exporters most-favored nation (MFN) treatment in 163 countries, representing more than 80 percent of the global economy. The trade body also provides rules to guard against arbitrary use of technical regulations to block imports, the groups noted.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has said the WTO treats the U.S. unfairly, and the administration has blocked the appointment of new judges to the WTO appeals court.