Chairman Roberts tells President Trump about rural America’s NAFTA concerns
The Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee says there is still unrest in Rural America about the NAFTA modernization talks.
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts tells Brownfield he recently shared some of those thoughts with President Trump. He says, “I said we’re in a rough patch and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about NAFTA. Our trading partners, both Canada and Mexico, have been in to see me and every farmer out there knows that they’re making other arrangements.
Roberts tells Brownfield while US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is in favor of trade agreements like NAFTA, Lighthizer has said he’d like to see them expire and be up for renegotiation after five years. That concerns Roberts, who says, “And (he) was telling me that on the fifth year, you’d be surprised how much ag produce will be purchased because they won’t know what’s going to happen the next year. I said, ‘Bob, my God, by that time we will lose all of our markets anyway and we need the help now, immediately, or you’re going to have a farm bill that’s so damned expensive we won’t be able to pass it.'”
Roberts says he doesn’t see NAFTA modernization talks finishing up anytime soon – and as long as the President doesn’t notify Canada and Mexico of an intent to withdraw from the deal he says there is still time to make sure agricultural trade is protected.
But, Roberts says, it will take some time and effort to make sure the President’s closest advisors fully understand the role NAFTA plays to agriculture.