Food Marketing Institute President and CEO Leslie Sarasin, along with 18 other association leaders in the retail, agriculture, automotive and service industries, urged Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a press conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In her remarks, Sarasin noted that expanded trade with neighboring countries has transformed produce departments in U.S. grocery stores. “FMI members are now able to offer safe, high-quality and affordable fruits and vegetables year-round and not just during the limited U.S. growing seasons. U.S. grocery shoppers can wander the produce section in January and find groceries that allow them to eat like it’s a June day,” she said. “This transformation has taken place at the same time as new markets have opened and expanded for U.S. growers—so much so that the United States food and agriculture economy now supports more than 45 million jobs and $152 billion in exports every year.”
In a letter to Congress, the association leaders noted that passage of the agreement would ensure continued access to Mexico and Canada by more than 120,000 small and medium-size businesses that sell their goods across the border virtually tariff-free, while large manufacturers export more goods to these two countries than they do to the next 11 largest export markets combined.
“The [United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement] maintains and secures the existing supply chain, resulting in continued growth in U.S. food and beverage exports and strengthens our food safety efforts,” Sarasin said during the press conference.
Other participants in the press conference included Gov. Matt Blunt, president, American Automotive Policy Council; John Bode, president and CEO, Corn Refiners Association; Steve Caldeira, president and CEO, Household & Commercial Products Association; Mary Kate Cunningham, VP, public policy, American Society of Association Executives; Thomas J. Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Michael Dykes, president and CEO, International Dairy Foods Association; Kip Eideberg, SVP, government and industry relations, Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Don Erickson, CEO, Security Industry Association; Donna Harman, president and CEO, American Forest & Paper Association; Michael Johnson, president and CEO, National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association; Lawrence Jones, VP, International, Edison Electric Institute; George Lowe, VP, government affairs and public policy, American Gas Association; Jim McCarthy, president and CEO, North American Millers’ Association; Joseph M. McGuire, president and CEO, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers; Ned Monroe, president and CEO, The Vinyl Institute; Duane L. Musser, VP, government relations, National Roofing Contractors Association; Nancy O’Liddy, director, government affairs, Transportation Intermediaries Association; and Matt Shay, president and CEO, National Retail Federation.
The Washington, D.C.-based Food Marketing Institute advocates on behalf of the food retail industry, which employs nearly 5 million workers and represents a combined annual sales volume of almost $800 billion. Member companies operate nearly 33,000 retail food stores and 12,000 pharmacies.