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State ag officials stress importance of free trade agreements

NASDA adopts action items on importance of export markets and WTO dispute settlement.

At the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) on Sept. 11 in Hartford, Conn., members passed two action items that reaffirm the critical importance of international trade to the organization.

Introduced by Washington director of agriculture Derek Sandison, the items focus on the critical need for export markets for American agriculture as well as reaffirm the importance of the World Trade Organization and its dispute settlement. Sandison is also chair of NASDA’s Marketing & International Trade Committee.

NASDA president and Connecticut commissioner of agriculture Steve Reviczky outlined NASDA’s concerns with the Trump Administration’s current trade strategy.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the Administration on all levels to influence a trade strategy that puts market access for U.S. farmers and ranchers first,” Reviczky said. “The U.S. cannot simply play defense on international trade. We encourage the Administration to aggressively seek market access across the globe, and we stand ready to assist them in accomplishing this.”

Support for the WTO multilateral dispute system was also a topic of discussion among the states' chief agricultural officials.

“NASDA remains concerned with the use of unilateral action against trading partners to correct trade disputes. A fully seated, functioning appellate body at the WTO will not only allow the U.S. to work with like-minded countries to hold China accountable for its trade distorting practices; it will also enable the Administration to remedy trade disputes with other countries who may discriminate against American farmers and ranchers,” NASDA noted.

NASDA represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes among state departments of agriculture, the federal government and stakeholders.

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