Trade is an especially important issue for both equipment dealers and manufacturers. As such, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) each conducted a survey of their members to gauge the perception of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and their potential impact on the ag industry.
Survey results revealed that both dealers (36 percent) and manufacturers (59 percent) are largely satisfied with the existing terms of NAFTA, but that some small changes were needed. When it came to TPP, dealers and manufacturers had less of a consensus. Only 15 percent of equipment dealers believe that TPP would have led to better trade terms for the equipment industry while 38 percent of manufacturers felt that way.
Comments from survey participants provide some insight as to these findings.
Equipment dealers expressed concern that the U.S. was shouldering too much of the cost under NAFTA and that Mexico was benefitting from more favorable terms. Dealers also felt that the TPP would lead the U.S. providing inequitable subsidies to its trading partners. Manufacturers on the other hand hoped NAFTA would be updated to reflect new technology and were disappointed in president Trump’s abandonment of the TPP.
EDA and AEM analyzed the differences in data collected from their U.S. and Canadian members. Both dealers and manufacturers in Canada had markedly more positive views of trade than their U.S. counterparts. For example, 80 percent of Canadian equipment dealers and over 50 percent of Canadian manufacturers surveyed were satisfied with the terms of NAFTA
EDA and AEM plan to keep their members updated on the status of these and other trade issues as the NAFTA re-negotiation gets underway later this summer.