Alexandria, VA (October 2, 2018) - The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) applauds the news of a new trade agreement between the United States and its two largest export markets: Mexico and Canada.
“This trilateral deal is a win for the U.S. seed industry,” says ASTA President and CEO Andrew LaVigne. “We thank the administration for its efforts in reaching a strong agreement that fosters innovation and ensures robust science-based standards for the continued movement of seed with two of our most important trading partners.”
While ASTA is still reviewing the full details of the agreement, the association is pleased to see the language includes its core priorities for trade. Most notably, the agreement provides stronger support for agricultural biotechnology and the trait approval process; recognizes the importance of evolving plant breeding methods like gene editing; strengthens science-based sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations; and provides strong intellectual property protections, including adoption of UPOV 91 requirements.
The United States is the largest market for seed in the world and is also the largest seed exporter. Seed varieties can cross six international borders before they are commercialized. This movement is critical to bring the highest quality seed to producers. Without seed exports, U.S. companies would lose $1.7 billion in sales annually. Mexico and Canada are our two largest export markets and vital trading partners. Of the $1.7 billion in U.S. exports, these trading countries account for $600 million in annual exports and make up 57% of U.S. corn-seed export sales.
Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) represents over 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. ASTA is the leading voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world. The association's broad membership offers varieties from alfalfa to zucchini and all production types including conventional, organic and biotech. ASTA promotes the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.