NAFTA modernization can’t disrupt livestock trade

Several ag groups are urging the Trump Administration to protect the interests of US agriculture in the upcoming North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation talks.

On Thursday, the White House officially notified Congress of its intent to modernize NAFTA.

Dave Warner with the National Pork Producers Council says they are happy the President isn’t withdrawing from the agreement – but they want to ensure market access for US pork producers is secure.  “We got all the tariff and non-tariff barriers to US pork going to Canada and Mexico eliminated through NAFTA and we want to maintain that,” he says.  “We don’t need anything else out of a renegotiated deal.”

Mexico is the number 2 market for US pork and Canada is number 4.

AUDIO: Dave Warner, NPPC

Kent Bacus, director of international trade for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says NAFTA has also been good to the US beef sector and the organization doesn’t want the relationships between the US and Canada and Mexico to be jeopardized.  “If talks start to sour and countries look at ways to leverage against each other – that could jeopardize the terms for the beef industry,” he says.  “We want these talks to be quick.  We want them to be narrow in scope and for them to not include the beef industry.  We’ve got a great deal – let’s not mess with it.”

AUDIO: Kent Bacus, NCBA

Thursday’s notification begins a 90-day period in which Trump trade officials must consult with Congress on objectives of the trade talks.  Thirty days prior to the start of the negotiations, the administration must make public a detailed and comprehensive summary of the objections for a new agreement.

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