USA Rice to Administration: Do No Harm in NAFTA Modernization

Jun 12, 2017
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On Friday, USA Rice reminded the Trump Administration that NAFTA remains a win for U.S. rice and urged negotiators to be mindful of the benefits the agreement has brought and to do no harm as it is modernized.

"NAFTA is responsible for creating the number one export market for U.S. rice and solidifying the number four market, Mexico and Canada respectively,” explained Bob Cummings, USA Rice COO.  “Our primary message to the U.S. Trade Representative was simple: do nothing to imperil this access that accounted for 26 percent of all rice exports last year.”

Cummings said the industry supports the administration’s efforts to modernize the agreement and points to two specific areas.

“NAFTA actually predates the landmark science-based Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS) that was adopted when the World Trade Organization was formed,” Cummings said.  “Incorporating SPS protocols, that were themselves updated as part of the now defunct Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, would improve NAFTA by protecting exporters with more transparency and greater communication.”

Cummings also said greater regulatory cooperation between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico would improve trade opportunities and further modernize NAFTA.

The U.S. Trade Representative is about a third of the way through a 90-day consultation period on NAFTA renegotiation that was triggered last month when the Administration formally notified Congress of their intent to renegotiate the agreement.

"We will work closely with U.S. negotiators to assist them in preserving and improving this important agreement," Cummings concluded.