WASHINGTON — Sixty-one feed and agriculture groups and associations in the United States are lobbying US trade officials and Congress to remain in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In a Sept. 23 letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, these groups acknowledged that reforms need to be made but referenced the success of the foreign export market since 1995. The group said that 20% of overall agricultural production in the United States is exported to foreign markets.

“While the WTO has been beneficial for US agriculture, its rules have not kept pace with changes in the global economy, and improvement is needed to hold members accountable and improve the organizations’ governance,” the letter said.

The group also asked Lighthizer and eight US representatives and senators to enhance American agriculture’s ability to access markets and work on tariff improvements.

“Continued US membership and active participation will help ensure that necessary reforms are undertaken, and that the WTO will continue to play an important and effective role in economic development of the United States and our trading partners,” the letter said.

Among those who signed the letter are the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA).

“The WTO provides the foundation for rules-based trading and a vehicle to enforce them,” commented Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of AFIA. “Without this system, the US animal food industry would not be able to compete fairly in the global market.”

According to AFIA, US feed and feed ingredient manufacturers exported $10.8 billion in products and pet food processors exported $1.7 billion in products.

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