During the 124th annual meeting of apple growers in Chicago, USDA undersecretary Ted McKinney said trade must be free, fair and reciprocal trade for American Ag. McKinney told growers and business owners about the importance of a “two-way street” in trading partnerships.
“We want to get trade on a balanced and level field,” said McKinney, undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. “We are making progress toward free trade, but we need to get rid of the tariffs. It is not the time to retreat.”
U.S. apple growers currently face 70% tariffs from India (20% of that is a new retaliatory tariffs) and 50% tariffs from China (40% is a new retaliatory tariffs). High tariffs and trade tensions have led to a 27% drop in apple exports from last year, according to USApple.
“Passage of the USMCA is the most important thing we have in front of us to bring certainty to growers,” continued McKinney, referring to the USApple-supported NAFTA update. “It’s a good deal for everybody. The agreement is tee’d up. We must pass it.”
McKinney also spoke about the “megatrend of megatrends that affects everyone in agriculture,”—the need to ramp up food production to meet future demand. Referring to the situation as the “seven and the nine,” McKinney spoke of how the world population is expected to grow from its current 7 billion to more than 9 billion by 2050.
“We’re going to have to double food production as we know it from today to feed everyone,” said McKinney. “Seven and the nine should drive us more than anything else.
“I want to recognize this meeting as an international gathering,” continued McKinney, referring to the 70 attendees representing 17 foreign countries at Outlook. “Who better than the apple industry to come together as a global group to discuss the way forward to meet food demand. Well done!”
McKinney leads the development and implementation of USDA’s trade policy, facilitates foreign market access and promotes opportunities for U.S. agriculture through various trade programs and high-level government negotiations.
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