Ag organizations and U.S. politicians stress NAFTA’s importance to new United States Trade Representative
Senators say abandoning NAFTA would result in ‘devastating economic consequences’
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
American agricultural organizations and different U.S. politicians stressed the importance of NAFTA to U.S. agriculture to newly-confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
“Exports account for 31 percent of farmer income,” Jon Doggett, executive vice president and head of public policy for the National Corn Growers Association, said in a statement. “When commodity prices are low, as they are now, 31 percent is an even bigger deal.
“That’s why we need strong trade agreements like NAFTA.”
“Mexico is currently Nebraska’s largest export market for corn, which provides $287 million in added value to our state’s economy,” Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, said in a statement.
The United States exported $20 billion worth of agricultural products to Canada in 2015, and another $17 billion to Mexico because of NAFTA, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
But during a September 2016 presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, President Trump called NAFTA ‘the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in (the United States).’
With Lighthizer’s confirmation, President Trump “plans to file a 90-day notice with Congress, work with it on negotiating priorities, and start talks with Canada and Mexico later this year,” according to the Canadian Press.
U.S. Senators worry opening up NAFTA could have a domino effect on many of the industries impacted by the trade deal.
“…efforts to abandon the agreement or impose unnecessary restrictions on trade with our North American partners will have devastating economic consequences,” reads a May 15 letter signed by a number of U.S. Senators including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst.