Farm Groups Urge for Modernization of NAFTA

Podcast / Newsline August 17, 2017

Credit: AFBF 

Farm groups from the North American Free Trade Agreement member nations are calling on negotiators to protect the gains made by the agriculture industry since the trade deal’s inception. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with the two largest farm groups in Mexico and Canada, are urging NAFTA negotiators to modernize the agreement, not dismantle it. In a joint letter to the U.S., Mexican and Canadian governments, the farm organizations call NAFTA one of the biggest success stories for agriculture. AFBF economist Veronica Nigh says the letter calls for unity to protect and improve agricultural trade.

Nigh: The American Farm Bureau Federation, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Mexico’s lead agricultural organization, Consejo Nacional Agropecuario, sent a joint letter to NAFTA negotiators asking for all three countries to basically do no harm to agricultural trade between our three countries.

Clements: Agricultural trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since the agreement was implemented more than 20 years ago. Nigh says that growth is critical to sustaining the agricultural economy.

Nigh: For the United States, Canada and Mexico are our number one and number three customers for U.S. ag exports. About 30 percent of total U.S. ag exports go to these two partners. For Canada and Mexico, we’re Canada’s number one export destination and also Mexico’s. So, clearly, there’s a lot of integration that has occurred over the last 23 years.

Clements: Additionally, the groups outlined priorities that could help improve agricultural trade between the three countries.

Nigh: The main thing that all three countries are interested in is reducing barriers on the regulatory side, improving expediency across the border, and really making sure that the rules that we’re trading under reflect modern science and standards. On a product side, we’d like to see some relief for fruit and vegetable growers in the United States, and we’d like to get some additional market access for our dairy and poultry products into Canada.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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