The companies and farmers that keep the US food system running are starting to bristle at president Donald Trump’s threats to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
A long list of major food and agricultural companies and trade associations recently signed onto a letter (pdf) sent to commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, challenging his recent comment that a NAFTA withdrawal would not lead to a significant drop in exports.
“Unless countries are going to be prepared to have their people go hungry or change their diets, I think it’s more of a threat to try to frighten the agricultural community,” Ross said on a panel in Washington in October.
The American food industry—which exported nearly $43 billion in food and agricultultural goods to Canada and Mexico in 2016 alone—has some serious concerns with Ross’ take. They aren’t feeling any less worried after yesterday (Nov. 8), when US Department of Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in Washington that he’s working with the White House and Congress to come up with a plan to protect farmers in the event of a NAFTA pull-out.
The list of names included on the letter is a staggering representation of key players in the global food system. It includes groups that represent the world’s largest food manufacturers, as well as the meat, dairy, candy, peanut, produce, almond, wine, liquor, corn, soybean, and turkey industries, among many others. Here’s a full list of the 87 signatories: