NFU delegates urge action on TRADE Act
National Farmers Union members March 10 urged the Obama Administration and Congress to pursue the fair trade policies that acknowledge the changes in the agriculture landscape in the past ten years. In a special order of business, delegates urged Congress to pass the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment Act to resolve problems in existing agreements and establish fair parameters for any future trade agreements. Delegates urged support for cooperative efforts among nations to end the race to the bottom.
Delegates to NFU's annual convention in Washington, D.C., said the failed free trade agenda has opened domestic markets to cheap, often low-quality food, fuel and fiber products and damaged the nation's trade balance.
"America's farmers and ranchers produce the world's highest quality food and fiber," NFU President Tom Buis said. "However, our competitors do not have the same high environmental, health and safety standards as the United States. It's time America had a trade agenda that leveled the playing field for its agricultural producers."
NFU members said future trade agreements must:
Address the differences in labor, environmental and health standards and the trade-distorting affect of currency manipulation and cartelization of agricultural markets;
Recognize the vital importance of maintaining a strong agricultural sector in the United States;
Replace the flawed Fast-Track trade negotiating rules and restore Congress' constitutional authority to set the terms of trade agreements;
Refrain from promoting farm policies that de-couple the domestic safety net from production; and
Protect American agriculture from foreign diseases that pose a threat to domestic agricultural production, particularly in the livestock sector.