For more than thirty years, NCA has advocated for a free trade stance. U.S. tariffs on finished chocolate and confectionery products are among the lowest in the world. Our industry continues to support an open U.S. market despite significant tariff barriers in important export markets and high raw materials costs at home resulting from protective sugar and dairy programs. Our industry has never requested import protection and instead supports improved market access and fair competition. Opening new markets for chocolate and confectionery offers great potential to enhance U.S. economic growth and create new jobs.
Our members export nearly $2 billion in American-made chocolates and confectionery annually to consumers around the world. Our top export destinations include Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan. U.S. imports of nearly $4.4 billion in confectionery, chocolate and cocoa inputs provide variety of selection for U.S. consumers and support U.S. domestic production.
NCA continues to advance cross-border trade opportunities and works to minimize risks at national borders for its members around the world.
- We strongly support the implementation of the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) as soon as possible. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helped shape a highly integrated supply chain in the region, and nearly 60% of U.S. export sales of chocolate and confectionery are destined for Canada and Mexico alone. The USMCA builds on and strengthens this long-standing North American trade relationship, ensures our U.S. manufacturers can continue to sell their products tariff-free to consumers in both markets and helps eliminate red tape at the border, making it easier for small and medium-sized confectioners to expand export sales throughout North America.
- A strong trans-Atlantic trade relationship remains a top priority, and NCA supports greater market access opportunities for manufacturers and consumers in the trans-Atlantic marketplace. Our industry supports a bilateral trade agreement with the EU that removes tariff and quota barriers on U.S. goods; eliminates the complex Meursing system that ratchets up tariff costs based on sugar and dairy content; addresses non-tariff barriers rooted in different regulatory approaches; and provides access to EU refined sugar for U.S. manufacturers.
- At the same time, our industry is concerned with recent U.S.-EU trade friction, including disputes over aircraft subsidies that have seen retaliatory U.S. tariffs imposed on imports of sweet biscuits and waffles/wafers from the EU and threats of EU retaliatory tariffs on U.S. chocolate exports. NCA has partnered with CAOBISCO, our counterpart in the European Union, to request the removal of our members’ products from retaliation lists and urge constructive engagement between the U.S. government and the European Commission to resolve these disputes without harming our manufacturers.
- The United States and Japan continue their negotiations this year on an expanded S.-Japan Trade Agreement. NCA and its members continue to engage with USTR, USDA and members of Congress to push for the elimination of high tariffs on U.S. chocolate and confectionery exports to Japan in order to ensure U.S. manufacturers can compete on a level playing field with Japan’s other free trade agreement partners.
Trade between the U.S. and China remains an issue of concern. Like many other sectors, our entire portfolio of products has been targeted by U.S. Section 301 tariffs on imports from China as well as Chinese retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports. Our industry welcomes the de-escalatory step of the U.S. signing a Phase 1 deal with China to halt further tariff increases and reduce some U.S. Section 301 tariffs on our members’ goods. NCA has supported importing members’ tariff exclusion requests and continues to engage on the importance of the growing Chinese market for our U.S. exporters.