Renegotiation of NAFTA Begins, What can Agriculture Expect?

On May 19, 2017, the Trump Administration formally gave notice to the U.S. Congress that a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is to commence. Canada and Mexico have since come to the table, and initial meetings have been conducted to attempt an improvement of the 23-year-old agreement. Targeting a timeline of wrapping up an agreement by early 2018, many obstacles loom, including the Mexican presidential primaries.

As part of the process outlined for negotiation, the Trump Administration has outlined numerous objectives for the NAFTA Renegotiation. The administration has stated that a new NAFTA must continue to break down barriers to American exports. This includes the elimination of unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions of intellectual property. The new NAFTA will be modernized to reflect 21st century standards and will reflect a fairer deal, addressing America’s persistent trade imbalances in North America. It will ensure that the United States obtains more open, equitable, secure, and reciprocal market access, and that our trade agreement with our two largest export markets is effectively implemented and enforced.

Objectives specifically aligned with agriculture include: - Maintain existing reciprocal duty-free market access for agricultural goods. - Expand competitive market opportunities for U.S. agricultural goods in NAFTA countries, substantially equivalent to the competitive opportunities afforded foreign exports into the U.S. market, by reducing or eliminating remaining tariffs. - Seek to eliminate non-tariff barriers to U.S. agricultural exports including discriminatory barriers, restrictive administration of tariff rate quotas, other unjustified measures that unfairly limit access to markets for U.S. goods, such as cross subsidization, price discrimination, and price undercutting. - Provide reasonable adjustment periods for U. S. import sensitive agricultural products, engaging in close consultation with Congress on such products before initiating tariff reduction negotiations. - Promote greater regulatory compatibility to reduce burdens associated with unnecessary differences in regulation, including through regulatory cooperation where appropriate.

Additionally, the administration breaks down objectives with regard to Rules of Origin: update and strengthen the rules of origin, as necessary, to ensure that the benefits of NAFTA go to products genuinely made in the United States of America.

Kansas Cattlemen’s Association supports keeping trade quotas and tariffs in trade negotiations, in order to fairly represent the cattle industry. In addition, KCA supports disease prevention protocols that are equal to or above USDA standards.

KCA will continue to follow and make comment on the renegotiation of NAFTA and future trade talks. To view all of the objectives set forth by the Trump Administration, visit the KCA website at www.kansascattlemen.com or request a copy by calling the KCA offices at 785-238-1483.

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