What NAFTA Renegotiations Will Mean

May 8, 2017 01:57 PM

Trade is a major focus for the Trump administration which will be a challenging task as the White House targets the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

President Donald Trump has decided to renegotiate rather than withdraw from NAFTA, much to the relief of farm groups. For many sectors of ag don’t believe they can renegotiate a better trade agreement because Mexico and Canada are top export customers for many U.S. agricultural products.

“When it comes to cattle and beef, we want to be left alone,” said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “It works well and because of NAFTA, we have two $1 billion markets to both the north and south.”

Mexico is the top market for U.S. corn, although there are some tweaks to NAFTA the feed grain industry would support, such as phytosanitary barriers.

There is also a fear if Trump tries to fix the trade deficit for other products, agriculture would lose ground.

“The way he’s going about it, I worry that we’re going to lose some of the exports that we already have in agriculture both to Canada and Mexico,” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union.

However, the commodity that might benefit the most from renegotiating NAFTA would be dairy due to Canada’s new pricing strategy.

“To not only cut off exports from the U.S., what little exports we have, but also more importantly they want to dump their skim milk proteins in export markets around the world where it will compete with U.S. exports,” said Chris Galen, senior vice president of communications for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

“We completely gave up power over the Canadians whatsoever in NAFTA,” said Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), a ranking member of the House Ag Committee. “We gave them complete autonomy of their supply management system in dairy and poultry.”

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Spell Check

Kearney, NE
5/9/2017 06:10 AM

  This is a long needed step. Collin Woodall has his head up his fourth point of contact if he truly believes that NAFTA has been good for American beef producers. All we American beef producers have gotten out of NAFTA is tarred by Canada's BSE problem. Many of our markets were closed for years because of mixing our clean beef(0 cases of typical BSE!) with Canada's.(multiple cases of typical BSE) Then you add in our loss of national sovereignty in regards to COOL. NAFTA has truly been a black eye for the American beef industry. Our beef industry needs new leadership, as the NCBA has sold actual AMERICAN producers out time and time again

Chuck Guyitt
Marine City, MI
5/9/2017 12:57 PM

  'Sorry' guys but what Chris Galen says about our Canadian skim milk exports are simply not true. We only stop using some of your skim milk because we have enough here in Canada. Even with amount that we stop inporting you still export more dairy products in to Canada than we export to you people. So tell Chris to get his facts right before he starts preaching. Just because we have a system that works here in Canada and it not harming anyone anywhere in the world, and you people want to keep subsiding your milk producers leaves us out of your affairs. Chuck Guyitt Ridgetown, Ontario, Canada

Kuttawa, KY
5/9/2017 04:10 PM

  Without mandatory COOL, the US cattle industry is in serious jeopardy. How can we sell a superior product in the export market, when we don't even know the source of the meat here at home. Send the Chinese a load of US beef mixed with Brazilian beef contaminated with salmonella and what do you think will happen?


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