Lawmakers introduce the Growing American Food Exports Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen Neal Dunn (FL-02) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) teamed up to eliminate unnecessary trade barriers that are hurting American exports and hindering innovation and advances in agricultural production technologies, including biotechnology. The Growing American Food Exports Act amends the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to update a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service program that funds efforts to harmonize international reviews of agricultural production technologies, which will lead to a stronger export economy and trade relations for the United States.

Approximately one third of all U.S. agricultural exports, roughly $40 billion, are produced with or contain products of genetic engineering. These products face significant regulatory barriers in overseas markets and currently there is no single international standard-setting body to help normalize trade.

The Growing American Food Exports Act addresses these top trade priorities:

  • Maintaining and expanding access in major markets
  • Advancing trade-facilitating solutions to inadvertent Low-Level Presence (LLP) of genetically engineered products approved in the United States, but not in foreign markets
  • Promoting trade- and innovation-friendly policies globally for emerging technologies
  • Building international coalitions for global acceptance of U.S. crops and predictable, science-based regulations

“In North Florida, agriculture is vital to the economy, and our farmers are using new technologies to grow food that is more resistant to pests and disease, require less water, and cost families less at the grocery store. Unfortunately, government regulations abroad often lag behind innovation on American farms, which prevents local farmers from selling their abundance to America’s trading partners,” Dr. Dunn said. “Removing these trade barriers and strengthening relations with our global partners will level the playing field for North Florida’s agricultural products. This legislation is a step in the right direction for improving our export economy and supporting innovation in the agricultural industry.”

“The central coast of California is a national leader in agriculture research and innovation. From USDA’s Agriculture Research Service station in Salinas to our local colleges and universities, our researchers are constantly improving the way that our food is being grown through technological advancements,” said Congressman Panetta. “The bill I introduced with Congressman Neal Dunn authorizes USDA to promote these emerging agriculture technologies abroad and ensure that trade regulations are based on sound science.  This will increase our agricultural exports ensuring that U.S. producers are not subject to unnecessary barriers in trade.”

Last year, Congressmen Dunn and Panetta led a bipartisan group of 79 House members in urging the USDA, FDA, and EPA to develop a consistent regulatory system so that there’s a pathway to market for genetically engineered products, and begin coordinating with our trade partners to develop a harmonized approach to new technologies, such as gene editing.