Jim Bair ( File image )

Speaking to the importance of trade to growers, U.S. Apple Association president and CEO Jim Bair urged passage U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade Agreement at a press conference Sept. 13.

Bair spoke at the International Trade Center during the final stop of the Farmers for Free Trade motorcade tour, according to a news release.

Farmers for Free Trade is a coalition of more than 1,000 agriculture organizations and companies working toward passage of the USMCA. 

Apple exports are expected to be one-third less than last year causing grower income to drop $588 million,” Bair at the press conference. “If we don’t pass the USMCA, it signals we are surrendering our place in the global market. And there are many competitors willing to step in to take our place.”

Bair said the passage of USMCA — the replacement to the North American Free Trade Agreement — is necessary to build on the success of NAFTA.

“Because of the success of NAFTA, growers have made huge investments in trees, land, equipment, and infrastructure,” Bair said at the event. “The health of the apple industry depends on growers’ ability to export.” 

Bair said that growers export about $1 billion worth of apples annually or about one-third of the country’s crop. Mexico and Canada are the top export markets for the industry, and the whole U.S. apple industry benefits from active export trade, he said at the event.

“The USMCA has to get ratified,” Bair said. “A future without free trade across North America is a future too terrible to consider.”

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