WASHINGTON, D.C., August 16, 2017 – The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) today sent a joint letter to Canadian, United States and Mexican government officials reiterating their calls that NAFTA re-negotiations should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.
The AFBF, CFA, and CNA agree that agriculture represents one of NAFTA's biggest success stories. Agricultural reciprocal trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since the agreement was implemented more than 20 years ago.
CFA President Ron Bonnett, strong in his support of the agreement, says that “NAFTA has boosted the incomes of millions of farmers and has facilitated the development of profitable export markets.”
In their discussions, the three Presidents agreed on the need to build on the original agreement's success by looking for ways to increase trade volumes.
“When it comes to overall positive results for North America’s farmers and ranchers, NAFTA has proved itself as a solid foundation for trade. Just as farmers have new tools and technology for food and fiber production, we believe that an updated NAFTA agreement can help the three nations become even stronger trading partners,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.
CNA President Bosco de la Vega, reflecting on the economic benefits of trade, said it is very clear, “The NAFTA agreement has had a positive impact for the agricultural sector, including the exponential increase in trade flows between its partners; currently NAFTA markets are characterized by high level of complementarity, the possibility to face the challenge of food security in a better way, an open trade system with clear and fair rules. Taking these into account, we believe that today the NAFTA members have a big opportunity to even increase this positive outcome.”
All parties further commit to meeting with their governments to insist that NAFTA re-negotiations should be built on the principle of "doing no harm."
NAFTA discussions should seek:
1. Increased and improved regulatory alignment.
2. Improved flow of goods at border crossings.
3. Further alignment of sanitary and phytosanitary measures using a science-based approach.
4. Elimination of non-science based technical barriers to trade.
5. Revisions that reflect technological advances since implementation such as digital trade, etc.
Agriculture industries in each NAFTA country would greatly suffer from disruptions to trading relationships developed over the last 23 years. Farmers have increased productivity and improved their competitiveness to address the rapidly growing demand worldwide for healthy and sustainable food products. Losses due to NAFTA changes would severely stunt this progress.
AFBF, CFA and CNA are committed to working with their respective administrations to ensure that a modernized NAFTA continues to be a success story for all farmers.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is the unified, national “Voice of Agriculture” in the United States, working to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. With members at the county or parish level in 50 states and Puerto Rico, AFBF is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots organization of farm and ranch families. Farm Bureau advocates in national and state capitals as well as local municipalities to advance the interest of all farmers and ranchers.
Founded in 1935 to provide Canada's farmers with a single voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the country's largest general farm organization. Its members include provincial general farm organizations, as well as national and inter-provincial commodity organizations. Through its members, CFA represents over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families.
The National Agricultural National Council (CNA), is a civil association, of national coverage and voluntary affiliation that was born on April 27th, 1984 (34 years ago). Since the beginning it is part of the Entrepreneurial Coordinator Council (CCE), Mexico’s key private entrepreneurial representative body. It is an organization of representation, defense and promotion of the agricultural activities that is integrated for organizations of producers and companies of the agricultural, livestock, food and feed processing activities and for suppliers of inputs and services related to these activities. Their members contribute with at least 75% of the agricultural GDP, livestock GDP, food and feed products GDP and total exports of agricultural, meats and food products.