Cattlemen Stress Importance of Trade as Senate Confirms New U.S Trade Representative
WASHINGTON (May 11, 2017) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today applauded the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Robert Lighthizer to be the U.S. Trade Representative. With a growing global marketplace, Craig Uden, NCBA president, said expanding international markets is a top priority for cattlemen.
“International trade is vital to the success of America’s cattle industry and in his new role, Ambassador Lighthizer will serve as our chief negotiator in all trade matters. As Ambassador Lighthizer begins his new job, we urge him to focus his efforts on opening and expanding our access to other markets and preventing any action that may hinder our export growth.”
NCBA particularly encourages Ambassador Lighthizer to prioritize trade with Asian markets by focusing efforts on restoring U.S. beef access to China and by establishing a bilateral trade agreement with Japan.
“As the 13-year ban of U.S. beef into China has been lifted, we encourage U.S. and Chinese government officials to establish a protocol for U.S. beef so that we can start exporting to the world’s most populous nation immediately. Furthermore, Japan is the top export market for U.S. beef, despite a 38.5 percent tariff. With TPP no longer an option to us, we urge Ambassador Lighthizer to prioritize a bi-lateral free trade agreement with Japan so that we can compete fairly with Australian beef producers.”
The North American Free Trade Agreement is another trade deal top of mind for the cattlemen, said Uden, having increased beef sales into Mexico by more than 750 percent.
“NAFTA has been one of the greatest success stories in the history of the American beef industry by removing tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Canada and Mexico and developing roughly $2 billion in annual sales. Any potential renegotiation of NAFTA must protect the market access and scientific standards that NAFTA has provided for the U.S. beef industry for over 20 years,” said Uden.
In Europe, the U.S. beef industry still faces decades-old trade barriers that unfairly discriminate against American producers for using science-based standards in beef production.
Uden said, “Now that Great Britain is leaving the European Union, we will have the opportunity to establish a new trade relationship with British allies. We hope to see the British emerge from behind the iron curtain of bad trade policies like precautionary principle, which plague the EU and discourage market-driven and science-based standards.”