ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 25, 2020 — The National Grain and Feed Association (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 letter sent this week 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.
“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.
NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,000 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. NGFA also consists of 33 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and NGFA is co-located and has a strategic alliance with North American Export Grain Association, and a strategic alliance with Pet Food Institute.