Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomed the announcement that brings the U.S., Mexico and Canada closer to updating NAFTA. Dave Salmonsen, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, says the agreement keeps the zero-tariff status between the U.S. and Mexico.
Salmonsen: We’re selling over $18 billion a year of ag commodities into the Mexican market and so we want to keep that going and we don’t want to add any incentives for Mexico to buy elsewhere. That was a development we certainly wanted right from the beginning, we were saying let’s do no harm, lets keep this ag relationship between the U.S. and Mexico going strong.
Clements: The framework agreement between the U.S. and Mexico provides several benefits for agriculture, many of which were included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
Salmonsen: We have some new language there on sanitary and phytosanitary standards, basically foods safety standards, making sure they’re science based. We also have some new language on biotechnology, making sure approval processes are timely, including gene editing. And we also have new language on geographic indications, very important for the dairy and the meat industries. I think those are very good measures that are going to help agriculture.
Clements: Salmonsen says the U.S. still has issues to solve with Canada.
Salmonsen: For agriculture, we still have the issues on dairy and poultry and supply management. But these things have been negotiated over the last year. Canada is coming back to the negotiations now that the U.S.-Mexico part of it is moving on, so we hope this can get resolved quickly and we can move forward with a complete NAFTA product for Congress to take up next year.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.