The Trump administration has officially notified Congress it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Agriculture groups have reacted to the news with caution. The National Pork Producers Council is urging the president to make sure that tariffs remain at zero for pork traded throughout North America. Tariff-free access to Canada and Mexico last year were worth $799 million and $1.4 billion respectively. “Canada and Mexico are our top export markets,” says NPPC President Ken Maschoff, “and we absolutely must not have any trade disruptions.” U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers are also hoping for caution in the upcoming negotiations.
While the groups welcome the chance to improve the agreement, they oppose changes that would limit benefits to wheat growers, especially in the Mexican food processing industries. American wheat imports began surging in Mexico after NAFTA, and Mexico is now the largest buyer of American wheat. “I cannot emphasize how important our Mexican customers are to U.S. wheat farmers,” says Jason Scott, USW chair. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is also urging the administration not to jeopardize gains made in NAFTA. The National Farmers Union says the negotiations are a chance to make NAFTA work better for family farmers and ranchers across the country.