“Reducing and eliminating tariffs and other restrictive agricultural policies in this region will help American workers in our sector compete, creating an opportunity to supply Asian markets with high-quality food and agricultural goods,” the letter stated, adding that the food and agriculture sector supports more than 15 million jobs in the United States. The letter also noted that the U.S. food and beverage industry alone constitutes 12% of all U.S. manufacturing jobs, making it the largest employer in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
The letter noted that more than 95% of the agricultural industry’s current and potential customers live outside the United States, making increased access to international markets essential for future success. While many agricultural companies and organizations strongly supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, the letter was forward-looking and emphasized that future agreements can build upon the valuable aspects of the TPP agreement.
“America’s food and agricultural sector is poised to grow internationally, building upon its well-deserved reputation for high-quality products, trusted brands and constant innovation,” the letter stated. “Our ability to continue to create jobs and support economic growth in rural America depends on maintaining and increasing access to markets outside the United States through existing and future trade agreements.
“We hope your administration will create such opportunities for our sector by deepening U.S. economic engagement in this critical region while responding to the Asia-only regional trade agreements being negotiated by our foreign competitors. We welcome an opportunity to work with your administration to ensure that America’s farmers, ranchers, processors and food companies do not fall behind our foreign peers in this vitally important economic region.”