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Mr. President: Withdrawing from NAFTA a serious mistake

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Several ag organizations spoke out Wednesday against President Trump’s proposal to withdraw from NAFTA and it looks like he listened … for at least the time being.

According to news reports this morning, the White House said Trump has spoken with leaders from Canada and Mexico and “agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries.”

However in his tweet this morning, President Trump warned, “if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA.”

Several agriculture organizations denounced the proposed NAFTA withdrawl:

National Corn Growers Association

“Mr. President, America’s corn farmers helped elect you. We are strong supporters of your administration and continue to stand ready to work with you to build a better farm economy. That begins with strong trade policy. Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture. We cannot disrupt trade with two of our top trade partners and allies. This decision will cost America’s farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock.  “NAFTA has been a huge win for American agriculture. Corn and corn product exports today account for 31 percent of farmer income. Mexico is the top export market for corn. Canada is also a top market for corn and ethanol. With a farm economy that is already weak, losing access to these markets will be a huge blow that will be felt throughout the ag value chain. Mr. President, agriculture and rural America are counting on you. We urge you not to withdraw from NAFTA.”

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG)

“Mexico is our largest U.S. wheat buyer, importing more than 10 percent of all U.S. wheat exports this year. NAFTA truly opened the door to the strong and growing market opportunity in Mexico. Closing that door would be a terrible blow to the U.S. wheat industry and its Mexican customers.

“USW and NAWG understand that there are several elements of the trade agreement that could be re-examined and modernized. However, we believe withdrawing from NAFTA would be a serious mistake. It could lead to new tariffs on U.S. wheat and threaten to undermine the long-standing, loyal relationship U.S. wheat farmers have built with Mexico’s wheat buyers and food industry. That would be devastating to U.S. wheat farmers already facing unprofitable prices and increasingly aggressive wheat exporting competitors.”

National Pork Producers Council

“The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a tremendous success for the U.S. pork industry, which has seen an explosion in exports to Canada and Mexico since the deal was implemented in 1994. In fact, Mexico and Canada are now our No. 2 and No. 4 markets, so we absolutely must not have any disruptions to U.S. pork exports there. Even a short-term interruption in our exports would have a significant negative economic impact on U.S. pork producers.

“Abandoning NAFTA and going back to pre-NAFTA tariffs would be financially devastating to U.S. pork producers. Tens of thousands of U.S. jobs dependent on those exports would be lost. The bottom line is U.S. pork trade with Canada and Mexico has been very robust, and we need to maintain and even improve that trade. We’re all for modernizing NAFTA, but we cannot support efforts that would undermine the livelihoods of America’s 60,000 pork producers.”

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
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