The U.S. animal food industry’s growth depends on broadening global trade opportunities. Below are a few areas where the American Feed Industry Association is working with U.S. government agencies and negotiators to remove trade barriers and open access for U.S. feed, feed ingredient and pet food manufacturers to be able to export their products.
In 2013, the United States began negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union, intending to sway the EU toward greater acceptance of science-based risk management regulations and provide a mechanism to hold them to it. In 2017, Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States, effectively changing U.S. trade policy and with it, negotiations of the T-TIP with the EU halted. Hope for revitalizing negotiations between the United States and the EU came again in 2018 when both countries notified their intentions of negotiating a trade agreement with each other. However, the EU’s negotiating objectives for such an agreement omitted agriculture altogether.
In September 2019, the U.S. and Japan reached a limited trade deal to reduce tariffs on agricultural and industrial products and address digital trade issues. The accord reduces tariffs on over $7 billion in U.S. agricultural goods and puts America on par with the relationship that Japan affords members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, an agreement that went into effect in January 2020 without the United States. At a value of $1 billion in 2019, Japan represents the third largest export market for feed, feed ingredients and pet food markets behind Canada and Mexico, so any future agreement with the Asian country could bring positive changes to the U.S. animal food industry.
Kenya’s market is ripe for trade with U.S. animal food manufacturers. Livestock production and gross domestic product are increasing in this emerging market, and with it, so is the demand for high-quality protein. Unfortunately, the country’s feed industry continues to be stifled by costly and unreliable ingredients due to inconsistent application of regulations and standards and ingredient supply chain issues.
With the United Kingdom’s recent departure from the EU in early 2020 as a result of “Brexit,” it presents a blank slate for U.S. animal food manufacturers. The U.S. International Trade Commission reported only a little over 1% of U.S. feed, feed ingredients and pet food exports went to the U.K. in 2019, totaling over $146 million. The potential for increased trade and market access is optimistic, which is why the AFIA supports a negotiated trade agreement that addresses non-science-based restrictions, including on the use of biotechnology, and technical barriers to trade such as regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures that can create unnecessary obstacles to trade. For more information on what “Brexit” could mean for U.S. agricultural trade as a whole with the UK, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.