Texas Agriculture February 17, 2017 : Page 6

NAFTA renegotiation talks begin By Jessica Domel Multimedia Editor President Donald Trump is mak-ing good on a campaign promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In early February, Trump con-sulted with Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas on the deal. Brady is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which would be tasked with reshaping NAFTA. Following the meeting, Brady told reporters the meeting was constructive. He said the president wants to build upon NAFTA and create more American jobs, accord-ing to the Houston Chronicle . NAFTA is now 20 years old, and much has changed since it was first signed, according to Veronica Nigh, economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). “There’s probably some room to make improvements to the agree-ment,” Nigh said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network. NAFTA negotiations began in 1991. The trade deal was imple-mented slowly from January 1994 through January 2008. The agree-ment provided elimination of most tariffs for traded products between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. According to Nigh, NAFTA is beneficial to the U.S. because both Mexico and Canada are consistent-ly in the top three destinations for American products. “Canada and China trade off whether they’re one or two, and Mexico has consistently been the number three market. From the beginning of implementation to last year, U.S. ag exports to Cana-da and Mexico have quadrupled,” Nigh said. “For Texas, as an indi-vidual state, you all exported $4.4 billion worth of ag products to our NAFTA partners, which is about 50 percent of all exports out of Texas globally.” AFBF supports free and open trade, and NAFTA has opened many opportunities for agriculture. “It’s an incredibly important market. If we are thinking about having a renewed discussion on NAFTA, we would much more pre-fer it be some changes rather than exiting the agreement in total. As we well know, since 1993, a lot has changed,” Nigh said. Biotechnology has changed since the 1990s and would need to be ad-dressed in a new trade agreement, as would other issues that have arisen since. “Certainly there are some cross border issues as to how products actually cross our physical bound-aries that could use some updat-ing,” Nigh said. Issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary rules may also be modernized. “There are a lot of rules based in definitional type issues that we could improve, but on the tar-iff side, we’re already enjoying al-most entirely free access. We want to certainly ensure that continues as we renegotiate this agreement,” Nigh said. “It certainly seems that the administration understands the importance of trade to agri-culture. We continue to make that point, as do a lot of other agricul-tural organizations. The renego-tiation seems to be focused much more on the non-agricultural side of the economy.” Although renegotiation is pre-ferred, opening the deal could mean changes that would have a negative impact on agriculture. “We have to remember that a re-negotiation means everyone gets to air their grievances with the agree-ment. Perhaps Mexico and Canada have some issues that they would AUSTIN South Point Dodge 512-443-9333 www.southpointdodge.com BOWIE Patterson of Bowie 800-766-2019 pattersonofbowie.com PLEASANTON Atascosa Dodge 888-499-1955 www.atascosacdj.com TAYLOR Nyle Maxwell Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram 512-218-5300 NyleMaxwell.com MCKINNEY Chrysler Jeep Dodge City of Mckinney 972-569-9650 dodgecityofmckinney.com like to address as well. Some of those might be agricultural. With an agreement that’s over 20 years old, there’s lot of things related to ag trade that could be updated and maybe improved,” Nigh said. “We’ll have to keep an eye on it and make sure we take advantage of that op-portunity, but don’t get traded off against other industries that may-be we’re more eager to make im-provements on.” In late January, the president of Mexico was scheduled to visit Washington, D.C. to discuss the renegotiation of NAFTA. He can-celled the trip following President Trump’s announcement regarding the building of a border wall be-tween the two countries. “Technically, those two issues are not linked. Though, certainly Mexico is taking all of these is-sues together and is thinking about them in the larger sense about what the relationship with the United States means,” Nigh said. “I think we have to be care-ful and think about all of these is-sues as they’re linked together. It’s oftentimes, even from a policy per-spective if they don’t seem linked, they can often become linked when those issues are discussed in rapid order.” As for Canada, they continue to remind everyone how important their relationship with the U.S. is, according to Nigh. “For 35 U.S. states, Canada is the largest ag export destination. We’re clearly enjoying a lot of ben-eficial trade with Canada. There are, of course, certain products those countries would like to see greater access to,” she said. “Dairy tends to be one of those products. The poultry industry would also like more integration.” One of the risks of opening dis-cussion on those products would be any negative impacts it could have on the trade of other commodities like hogs and cattle, Nigh said. The administration has not said when official NAFTA renegotiation talks will begin. 6 F EBRUARY 17 , 2017

NAFTA Renegotiation Talks Begin

Jessica Domel

President Donald Trump is making good on a campaign promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In early February, Trump consulted with Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas on the deal. Brady is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which would be tasked with reshaping NAFTA.

Following the meeting, Brady told reporters the meeting was constructive. He said the president wants to build upon NAFTA and create more American jobs, according to the Houston Chronicle.

NAFTA is now 20 years old, and much has changed since it was first signed, according to Veronica Nigh, economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

“There’s probably some room to make improvements to the agreement,” Nigh said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network.

NAFTA negotiations began in 1991. The trade deal was implemented slowly from January 1994 through January 2008. The agreement provided elimination of most tariffs for traded products between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

According to Nigh, NAFTA is beneficial to the U.S. because both Mexico and Canada are consistently in the top three destinations for American products.

“Canada and China trade off whether they’re one or two, and Mexico has consistently been the number three market. From the beginning of implementation to last year, U.S. ag exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled,” Nigh said. “For Texas, as an individual state, you all exported $4.4 billion worth of ag products to our NAFTA partners, which is about 50 percent of all exports out of Texas globally.”

AFBF supports free and open trade, and NAFTA has opened many opportunities for agriculture.

“It’s an incredibly important market. If we are thinking about having a renewed discussion on NAFTA, we would much more prefer it be some changes rather than exiting the agreement in total. As we well know, since 1993, a lot has changed,” Nigh said.

Biotechnology has changed since the 1990s and would need to be addressed in a new trade agreement, as would other issues that have arisen since.

“Certainly there are some cross border issues as to how products actually cross our physical boundaries that could use some updating,” Nigh said.

Issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary rules may also be modernized.

“There are a lot of rules based in definitional type issues that we could improve, but on the tariff side, we’re already enjoying almost entirely free access. We want to certainly ensure that continues as we renegotiate this agreement,” Nigh said. “It certainly seems that the administration understands the importance of trade to agriculture. We continue to make that point, as do a lot of other agricultural organizations. The renegotiation seems to be focused much more on the non-agricultural side of the economy.”

Although renegotiation is preferred, opening the deal could mean changes that would have a negative impact on agriculture.

“We have to remember that a renegotiation means everyone gets to air their grievances with the agreement. Perhaps Mexico and Canada have some issues that they would like to address as well. Some of those might be agricultural. With an agreement that’s over 20 years old, there’s lot of things related to ag trade that could be updated and maybe improved,” Nigh said. “We’ll have to keep an eye on it and make sure we take advantage of that opportunity, but don’t get traded off against other industries that maybe we’re more eager to make improvements on.”

In late January, the president of Mexico was scheduled to visit Washington, D.C. to discuss the renegotiation of NAFTA. He cancelled the trip following President Trump’s announcement regarding the building of a border wall between the two countries.

“Technically, those two issues are not linked. Though, certainly Mexico is taking all of these issues together and is thinking about them in the larger sense about what the relationship with the United States means,” Nigh said. “I think we have to be careful and think about all of these issues as they’re linked together. It’s oftentimes, even from a policy perspective if they don’t seem linked, they can often become linked when those issues are discussed in rapid order.”

As for Canada, they continue to remind everyone how important their relationship with the U.S. is, according to Nigh.

“For 35 U.S. states, Canada is the largest ag export destination. We’re clearly enjoying a lot of beneficial trade with Canada. There are, of course, certain products those countries would like to see greater access to,” she said. “Dairy tends to be one of those products. The poultry industry would also like more integration.”

One of the risks of opening discussion on those products would be any negative impacts it could have on the trade of other commodities like hogs and cattle, Nigh said.

The administration has not said when official NAFTA renegotiation talks will begin.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/NAFTA+Renegotiation+Talks+Begin/2712228/384301/article.html.

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