Sep 30, 2020Ag groups urge administration, legislators to stick with WTO
A large collection of agriculture groups and other stakeholders is urging legislators to keep the United States in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
A Sept. 23 letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and several members of the House of Representatives and Senate that was signed by 62 ag-related groups and companies — including the National Potato Council, American Potato Trade Alliance, United Fresh Produce Association and Syngenta — states:
“With more than 20% of overall agricultural production in the United States destined for foreign markets, U.S. agriculture is heavily dependent on exports. The existing WTO rules and the day-to-day work of its committees and secretariat to provide transparency and accountability from its Members remains critical to future export growth, for America’s farmers and ranchers, and the millions of American jobs — most of them off-the-farm — that are linked to and dependent upon U.S. agriculture.”
President Donald Trump threatened to pull the U.S. out of the WTO in 2018. In December, the WTO lost its ability to be the international trade arbiter. The relationship between the Trump administration and WTO was further stressed recently, when a WTO panel ruled Trump’s tariffs on China broke trade rules.
“This panel report confirms what the Trump administration has been saying for four years: the WTO is completely inadequate to stop China’s harmful technology practices,” Lighthizer said in response, reported Reuters.
The WTO was founded in 1995. The U.S. was one of the original 123 members and has been a member ever since. There are currently 164 member nations.