World Without NAFTA Looks Like 1980s For Agriculture

November 16, 2017 12:12 PM

President Donald Trump has been stressing the importance of fair trade, and in order to get fair trade, he has threatened walking away from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

On Wednesday, renegotiation talks resumed in Mexico with delegates from Mexico, Canada and the United States, and final talks have been pushed into 2018.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that striking a new deal by early 2018 will be enormously complex. Ross said ag leaders are making negotiations more difficult because the groups are voicing more concern over the direction of the NAFTA 2.0 talks.

“As one special interest group, say agriculture, for example, gets nervous, they start screaming and yelling publically,” said Ross.

Former secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack, now president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, says nixing NAFTA isn’t an option.

“The responsibility for the administration is to figure out creatively how to get the job done and they were right to raise the issue of modernizing and renegotiating NAFTA, but now they have to bring it home,” he said at the Farm Journal MILK Business Conference earlier this month.

This sentiment is echoed by economists, saying walking away from the trade deal that has been in place for 25-years would do serious harm to the U.S. agriculture industry.

“Without NAFTA, we’re looking at the 1980s, and I have to agree with [Dave Cole, who originally made that statement],” said Jackson Takach, Farmer Mac economist. “NAFTA is a big part of our trade package. NAFTA delivers a lot of ag export markets, and without it, I think we’re going to see a pretty significant decline in sales and revenues for our farmers.”

Earlier this month, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the USDA is making contingency plans if the U.S. decides to scrap the trade agreement.

Watch the full story on AgDay above.

Back to news



Spell Check

Ann Bassett
Woodstock, VT
11/17/2017 12:20 PM

  Many people seem to mistake NAFTA for a world wide agreement. It's for three countries only, North American Trade Agreement, so it has no bearing on beef into China and Korea or any of agricultural product into a new market. Farmers might want to think about how much corn and soybeans we sell to Mexico. They're already looking at purchasing more grain from Brazil and Argentina.

Central, IL
11/17/2017 12:26 PM

  Change isn't always good. Those who have tied into the Presidents line forget it takes two (or more) to succeed in trade. I will agree that the US needs more open movement of goods between us and our trading partners .. but remember it takes trading PARTNERS. Threatening to take your ball and go home if you don't like the results only helps our competitors. Seems to me situations like Nixon's embargo on soybeans back in the 70's only helped Brazil. For all of his professed "business expertise" the President is really close to dropping the ball on this one. Regarding those "special interests" that where mentioned. Special begins at home. If my products lose value because the neighborhood bully (and that's not the word I prefer) is pandering to a small percentage of the electorate, that's a loss for me and American Ag. I hope his bluster doesn't blow up in our faces. I survived the 80's on luck, great support, and Faith. I do not want to experience those situations again.

Louis Tennis
Browns, IL
11/17/2017 07:29 AM

  we have had Nafta for twenty year and have be used by the other countries most of the years. Why are we finally got beef in Korea, and back in China. So tell me why Nafta has been soo good