Food and farm groups call for new NAFTA to address dumping and support farmers in all countries

New report finds agricultural dumping is persistent in recent years.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 27, 2017

Contact: Josh Wise, 952-818-5474, jwise@iatp.org; Karen Hansen-Kuhn, 202-413-9533, khansenkuhn@iatp.org  

Minneapolis, MN – As the Trump administration holds its sole  hearing on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) concludes that better policy is needed as agricultural dumping by global corporate agribusinesses is undermining farmers around the world.

The report, Counting the costs of agricultural dumping, tracks the cost of production and export price across four crops—rice, wheat, corn, and soy—and finds that selling crops abroad at below the cost of production, the definition of dumping, is a persistent feature of US agricultural commodity exports in recent years.

“U.S. farm policy unfortunately incentivizes overproduction,” says Karen Hansen-Kuhn, one of the report’s authors. “Farmers are encouraged to produce more and more even at prices below the cost of production, and to rely on exports for new markets. They are on a treadmill that won’t get them to sustainable production or resilient farming systems.”

Combined with trade policies that give corporate agribusiness giants free reign to sell commodities across borders at prices that undermine local markets, farmers around the world lose.

“It’s clear that dumping is undermining food security and agricultural communities around the world,” says Hansen-Kuhn. “What is needed is farm and trade policy that encourages sustainable production and respects each country’s right to food security.”

Food and farm groups are demanding that a re-negotiated NAFTA work for farmers, not just corporate agribusiness firms.

“NAFTA has been a disaster for farmers across borders,” says IATP Executive Director, Juliette Majot, who will be testifying at the hearing. “The dumping of U.S. corn directly led to the displacement of over 2 million agricultural workers in Mexico. At the same time, the ‘get big or get out’ model of commodity export that NAFTA fueled has led to the disappearance of thousands of family farms in the U.S.”

“NAFTA must be wholly redone to start to rebuild farm and food systems in ways that are sustainable, fair, and promote the resiliency of farmers and rural communities,” says Majot. “A new agreement must increase the living standards for agricultural communities in all three countries, not just the agribusiness investors who make more money speculating on commodity futures than they do actually producing food.”  

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Based in Minneapolis with offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin, Germany, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy connects the dots of global justice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.