Don't let the U.S. get left behind on trade, urges United Fresh CEO
The head of industry advocacy group United Fresh Produce Association has urged the new U.S. administration not to let the country get left behind on global trade, warning that 'potential trading partners won’t sit idly by'.
On Monday President Trump fulfilled one of his campaign promises by signing an executive order officially withdrawing the U.S. from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which would have broadened tariff-free arrangements with states included in the 12-member talks.
Trump has said he believes better deals can be secured for U.S. businesses through adjusted bilateral trade partnerships.
In a recent statement, United Fresh president and CEO Tom Stenzel said it was no surprise the new president had taken the U.S. out of the TPP, adding that Congress "was not likely to confirm the agreement in any case."
But he said that now is the time "to move past anti-trade rhetoric and begin the process of building consensus for the key portions of the agreement that had been negotiated in the TPP."
"Both U.S. agriculture and U.S. consumers benefit from trade, and exports to the Asian Pacific countries are a critical opportunity for U.S. producers," he said.
"Beyond that, the TPP was the first major agreement that began to build strong rules for countries to prevent putting up protectionist measures in the form of sanitary and phytosanitary barriers.
"Without this agreement, we fall back to an environment where countries can simply choose to block imports without scientific justification."
He went on to say that United Fresh encouraged President Trump and his new Administration "not just to withdraw from trade agreements, but to come to the table to renegotiate agricultural agreements as soon as possible."
"Our potential trading partners won’t sit idly by, but will find other partners and leave the United States behind. Most importantly, America deserves real trade agreements that benefit both consumers and producers.”
Earlier this week the California Citrus Mutual (CCM) expressed its disappointment by the TPP withdrawal, but had previously applauded the new administration for the stay on the Argentine lemon import rule.