Ag Groups Want U.S. to Remain in WTO

A coalition of 62 leading U.S. agriculture stakeholders are asking for continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization. A Corn Refiners Association release says the groups sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, as well as leaders of the Senate Finance, House Ways and Means, and the House and Senate Ag Committees calling for effective WTO reform. That reform would enhance the ability of American agriculture to access foreign markets and maintain transparency and accountability critical to future export growth that will help to support American jobs. The letter also identifies characteristics they’re looking for in the next WTO Director General. “The WTO is fundamental to a rules-based system of international trade,” says John Bode, President and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. “As long as exports are important to U.S. agriculture, WTO membership will be essential. This is critical to the one-fifth of the U.S. economy that is related to agriculture.” The letter does note the need for the WTO to institute updated rules in order to keep pace with global economic changes and calls for increased accountability among members. A transition in leadership “presents a great opportunity to successfully implement reform and reinvigorate its negotiating function under a new Director General.”