Testimony of Roger Johnson, President of the NFU, Submitted to the U.S. International Trade Commission Regarding the TPP
On behalf of the family farmer, rancher, and rural members of National Farmers Union (NFU), thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its potential impacts on family farmers and their communities.
NFU was organized in 1902 with the mission of improving the well-being and economic opportunity for family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through grassroots-driven advocacy. As a general farm organization, NFU represents agricultural producers across the country and in all segments of family agriculture.
NFU, as directed by its policy adopted by delegates at its annual convention, advocates for fair trade. NFU recognizes that international trade is an important part of successful family farming in the U.S., but increasing trade is not an end unto itself. NFU policy states, “Every future trade agreement must address differences in labor standards, environmental standards, health standards, and the trade-distorting effect of currency manipulation and cartelization of agriculture markets.”
The U.S. trade deficit totaled over $508 billion in 2014, a six percent increase from 2013. 2 It represents roughly three percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The trade deficit causes a significant drag on the growth of the entire economy. For more than 40 years, the U.S. has had a trade deficit that, on average, continues to grow (Figure 1). With a strengthening U.S. dollar, the deficit is likely to grow in 2015, as a strong U.S. dollar will encourage imports and reduce exports. The massive overall trade deficit exists despite the U.S. having free trade agreements with 20 countries, including half of the countries in the TPP. Because of the significant impact the trade deficit has on the U.S. economy, all trade agreements, such as TPP, must have the explicit objective of balancing trade.
Read the full testimony on nfu.org.