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U.S. eases up on Mexican ag in NAFTA talks

U.S. eases up on Mexican ag in NAFTA talks

The U.S. removed a demand to restricts some Mexican imports, sources say

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Two of NAFTA’s member nations have made progress in their agricultural negotiations for a modernized trade agreement.

The United States has removed a demand related to Mexican imports.

In September, the Trump administration proposed limiting or banning seasonal imports of produce including strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes.

That proposal caused disagreements within America’s ag community.

Tomato producers in Florida supported this limit because Mexican products cut into their market share. But other farmers lobbied against the proposal, saying it could make trade with Mexico more difficult.

“There’s not a consensus view among growers in the U.S. on this issue,” Michael Camunez, CEO of Monarch Global Strategies and former assistant to the Commerce secretary, told McClatchy Friday.

Information from those close to the negotiating table suggest the U.S. has eased up on that item.

“Our U.S. counterparts tell us that … the United States has decided to withdraw (the proposal) from the table,” Mario Andrade, vice president of foreign trade for Mexico’s National Agricultural Council, told Reuters yesterday.

This advance in negotiations with Mexico could put pressure on Canada to soften its stance on some issues, including agriculture.

Canada has not participated in face-to-face discussions with its NAFTA partners in recent weeks.

On Thursday, the one-year anniversary of reopening NAFTA, President Trump criticized Canada’s dairy import “tariffs of 275 per cent,” CBC reported.

“But we’re taking care of that situation pretty easily,” he said.


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