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GMA Calls for NAFTA Modernization to Grow U.S. Food, Beverage and Consumer Products’ Competitiveness

GMA Press Contact

Brian Kennedy

office: 202-639-5994

Comments Filed with U.S. Trade Representative

(Washington, D.C.) The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today urged that NAFTA modernization strengthen the benefits of free trade for consumers, U.S. manufacturers and their workers.

GMA filed comments today to the United States Trade Representative on NAFTA modernization.

“It is essential that the millions of men and women who work to produce the quality products enjoyed by consumers here at home and around the world be at the forefront of the negotiations to strengthen and improve this landmark trade agreement,” said Pamela G. Bailey, GMA’s president and CEO.  “As the Trump Administration seeks to modernize the NAFTA agreement, we urge the Administration to strengthen and expand the benefits of free trade for consumers, U.S. food, beverage, and consumer product manufacturers and their workers.”

The grocery manufacturing industry directly employs 2.1 million people in 30,000 U.S. communities. These jobs in turn support another 9 million jobs across the country.

“Ambitious and successful trade agreements like NAFTA have helped the U.S. food, beverage, and consumer products industry leverage sophisticated supply chains and investments to source ingredients, innovate products, and compete in the United States and overseas, but we understand NAFTA is more than 20 years old and can be modernized to further strengthen competitiveness and drive U.S. growth and job creation.” said Bailey.

In its comments, GMA noted that U.S. processed food and beverage exports to the world totaled almost $40 billion in 2016, roughly a third of all U.S. agricultural exports. Of that amount, approximately $17.6 billion were destined for Canada and Mexico, which are the top two export markets for U.S. processed foods and beverages. 

In order to maintain current and drive future growth and increased employment in the U.S. food, beverage, and consumer product manufacturing sector, GMA urged the Trump administration in its comments to consider three priority objectives for modernizing NAFTA:

  • Protect Existing Market Access and Remove Remaining Barriers – NAFTA modernization should maintain comprehensive, tariff-free trade in food, beverage, and consumer products and remove any tariff barriers, quotas, and/or other limitations to market access for goods traded among the NAFTA countries.
  • Update Rules that Increase U.S. Companies’ Competitiveness – NAFTA modernization should implement even stronger commitments to establish effective, science-based rules governing non-tariff measures that build on WTO rules and set a new, higher standard for future U.S. trade agreements in order to expand opportunities for U.S. exports. 
  • Increase Regulatory Alignment and Harmonization –NAFTA modernization should reinforce and expand regulatory cooperation efforts.  The agreement should set an ambitious agenda for regulatory alignment; for example, by making the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) permanent, strengthening U.S.-Mexico regulatory cooperation, and seeking mechanisms for trilateral regulatory cooperation on topics including food safety and chemicals management.

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The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is the trade organization representing the world’s leading food, beverage and consumer products companies and associated partners. The U.S. food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry plays a unique role as the single largest U.S. manufacturing employment sector, with 2.1 million jobs in 30,000 communities across the country that deliver products vital to the wellbeing of people in our nation and around world. Founded in 1908, GMA has a primary focus on product safety, science-based public policies and industry initiatives that seek to empower people with the tools and information they need to make informed choices and lead healthier lives. For more information, visit gmaonline.org.