NAFTA promotes U.S. manufacturing in the food and agriculture sector
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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is important to the frozen food and beverage industry and the 670,000 jobs the sector supports throughout the United States. Frozen food makers depend on a reliable, safe and state-of-the-art logistics and supply chain network to efficiently and competitively make and distribute food that the world enjoys every day.

The frozen food industry prides itself on a history of innovation to provide convenient access to safe, nutritious food. We are part of the diverse U.S. food and agricultural industry that’s capable of feeding the world and collectively supports more manufacturing jobs than any other U.S. manufacturing sector — more than 21 million jobs from coast-to-coast.

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NAFTA provides the broader American food and agriculture industry with export opportunities for growth. In fact, under NAFTA, American food and agriculture exports to Mexico and Canada grew by 450 percent. In 2016 alone, the U.S. exported nearly $43 billion worth of food and agriculture goods to Mexico and Canada, making our NAFTA partners the largest export consumers of U.S. agriculture.

American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) member companies have also seen first-hand how increased trade and market access can benefit U.S. food makers. Without NAFTA, the impact to our industry would exceed $25 million in export tariffs alone. Without NAFTA, U.S. manufacturers of agricultural products would suffer.

NAFTA has allowed frozen food and beverage makers to source high-quality and safe ingredients that are not grown or widely available in the United States. Some imports, like strawberries and broccoli, from Mexico are necessary to meet year-round demand and to supplement our growing seasons for a full portfolio of fruits and vegetables not always available in the United States. Likewise, exports of frozen potatoes into Mexico help meet their consumption demand.

AFFI stands ready to work with the administration and Congress on a modernized NAFTA that maintains, or better yet, maximizes trade opportunities for U.S. frozen food makers. In particular, as advancing food safety is a priority for AFFI, we look forward to provisions on food sanitation that facilitate harmonization.

Each new trade agreement provides significant market access opportunities for the foods we make, including immediate duty-free access for many frozen foods and greatly improved tariff treatment for other foods. We want to continue the great advances the U.S. food and agriculture industry have made under NAFTA to spur growth in the economy.

Alison Bodor is president and CEO of American Frozen Food Institute.