Farmers and industry groups share how expanding markets is still a top priority

Farmers and industry groups highlighted their trade priorities during a roundtable discussion with Farmer for Free Trade.

Expanding into new markets continues to be a priority for the agricultural industry.

Fifth generation pork producers Howard AV Roth, Jr. says that bilateral agreements are good but larger deals are better.

“We also should focus on comprehensive market access packages like those offered in trade agreements, like the CPTPP, which our competitors are part of. We encourage the administration to enter into broader market access negotiations,” according to Roth.

Doug Chapin, chairman of the Michigan Milk Producers, also called for more action on closing deals that have been in the works for years.

“Dairy farmers want the Biden trade policy strategy to include the following through with agreements that had already started negotiations, such as with the UK, a big dairy importing market, and dairy farmers also hope the administration will seek trade promotion authority,” Chapin states.

Corn growers praised progress being made with China, but still face tariff barriers for ethanol and DDG products, a sentiment shared by Marquis Energy.

“We face barriers both in Asia and in Europe and to Mexico from different products or sectors,” Bart Piper explains. “We’ve been negotiating with China for a long time to try to get DDG back into that market but it’s still heavily protected. Brazil does the same thing for ethanol products-- putting a 20 percent tariff on any product coming in there.”

The conversation also included concerns about current trade bottlenecks beings seen at ports.

“Port authorities do not own ships and they cannot tell a vessel where to go or what they can carry-- market forces determine that. What ports can help is to facilitate trade, working with food exporters to get state and federal grants to build new cold storage warehouses,” Manuel Almira, executive director of the Port of Palm Beach, Florida, states.

He says that their situation is different from their west coast counterparts.

At Palm Beach over 80 percent of their container volume is exports and the majority of incoming containers are empty.


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