Do not use agriculture as a pawn in trade negotiation game, stresses Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue prior to the fourth round of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
United States, Canada and Mexico trade negotiators will return to the table this Wednesday in Washington to discuss the revamping of this landmark trade agreement.
Speaking at Washington International Trade Assn. event, Perdue expresses his disappointment in the previous rounds of NAFTA talk’s pace. However, he reminds everyone that the discussion is more like a championship boxing match.
“If you ever watch a boxing match they circle one another for a while,” Perdue notes. “I think we are done circling. So we are going to lay some things on the table in the next round.
House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11) echoed comments made last week by Agriculture Secretary “Perdue hit the nail on the head when he said we need to stop circling the ring in NAFTA negotiations and begin laying out concrete agriculture proposals,” states Conaway.
Last week, House Agriculture Committee members met with members of a congressional delegation to Ottawa, Canada to discuss agricultural trade.
“Our goal over the past two days was to ensure our Canadian counterparts understand that U.S. production agriculture has a keen interest in getting NAFTA done and done right. We have had productive conversations over the weekend with Canadian officials and are eager for negotiations to resume in Washington next week. As I’ve said before, U.S. production agriculture will continue to stay at negotiators elbow throughout this process to ensure their interests are taken into account. This is too important to screw up,” said Conaway.
Although the NAFTA negotiations create an opportunity to work out some issues relating to poultry and dairy trade, Perdue and agriculture leaders are anxious over the non-agriculture matters. “We can’t help the U.S. is the most productive just do not use as a weapon in trade negotiations.”
After the first round of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks, President Trump threatened to terminate NAFTA – an action many in agriculture hopes he does not act on.
Still, tension is rising. Mexican officials warn that Trump is leading the region towards a protectionist trade war with his “America First” policy, significantly curbing commerce, reports Reuters.
Many industries, especially U.S. pork, rely heavily on trade with Mexico and Canada. National Pork Producers Council continues to press the Trump administration to maintain the current zero-duty market access into Canada and Mexico, emphasizing that U.S. pork cannot be collateral damage in the NAFTA renegotiations.