NAFTA Negotiations Progress As Farmers Call For Trade, Not Aid
Modernized NAFTA & End To Trade Disputes Would Help Alleviate Farmer Uncertainty
Agriculture and other sectors of the U.S. economy that rely heavily on trade found a glimmer of hope last week with reports of progress on talks concerning the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico has touted significant advancements in the negotiations with “very good probabilities” that the thorniest issues will be addressed in coming weeks and Canada is expected to rejoin the talks soon. With “palpable optimism” emerging from the talks, a significant and positive turning point on NAFTA negotiations may finally be approaching.
The progress follows the Trump Administration’s recent unveiling of its plan for $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers losing income and market access as a result of ongoing trade disputes between the U.S. and its trade partners. Farmers have largely brushed off the aid package. Americans For Farmers & Families Spokesperson Casey Guernsey said that his family “got into farming to sell beef, not to accept government assistance.” Moreover, the administration’s response suggests that a quick end to these trade disputes is unlikely, and should the conflict drag on and require a bailout for all affected industries, taxpayers would be on the hook for $39 billion.
Improving America’s trade outlook, including both preserving and modernizing NAFTA, would benefit the entire supply chain and farmers, in particular. Even before these imposed and proposed retaliatory tariffs, farmers were facing numerous challenges, such as decreases to farm income. A modernized NAFTA and an end to unnecessary trade disputes would help alleviate farmer uncertainty. Farm families deserve these wins.
Progress Has Been Made Recently In NAFTA Negotiations. “‘Technically, we are ready to move into finishing the issues, Mexico-U.S. issues, the most next week. There are very good probabilities that we’ll be landing solutions,’ Guajardo said in English.” (Daphne Psaledakis & David Lawder, “Mexico Eyes NAFTA Breakthrough Next Week, Says Canada Joining Soon,” Reuters, 8/3/18)
U.S. And Mexico Are Optimistic That A Deal May Be Reached Soon. “This time around, top officials of Mexico and the U.S. are emerging from meetings with palpable optimism, leaving behind rhetoric of ‘unworkable’ demands and raising expectations the three countries could agree on a deal, possibly as soon as the end of the month.” (Sabrina Rodriguez & Megan Cassella, “NAFTA Talks Take Positive Turn,” Politico, 7/31/18)
Americans For Farmers & Families’ Casey Guernsey: “My family got into farming to sell beef, not to accept government assistance. While we need to hold our trading partners to account and ensure fair deals are reached, our government must also pursue long-term and sustainable solutions.” (“Americans For Farmers & Families Statement Responding To Proposal To Provide Farmers With Aid To Offset Tariff Losses,” Press Release, 7/24/18
Trade Tensions Between U.S. And Trading Partners Are Unlikely To End Soon. “It is the latest sign that growing trade tensions between the United States and other countries are unlikely to end soon.” (Damian Paletta & Caitlin Dewey, “White House Readies Plan For $12 Billion In Emergency Aid To Farmers Caught In Trump’s Escalating Trade War,” The Washington Post, 7/25/18)
U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Analysis Found That Bailout Of All Industries Affected By Tariffs Would Cost $39 Billion. “The Chamber compared the total amount of the farmers’ aid to the amount of exports affected by the tariffs, then applied the same ratio across other impacted industries, to come up with the bailout requirement if it was applied across the board. Doing so produced the $39 billion total – $12 billion to the farmers, plus another $27 billion to other industries.” (Jeff Cox, “Full-Scale Bailout For Industries Impacted By Tariffs Would Cost $39 Billion, Chamber Of Commerce Says,” CNBC, 7/30/18)
2018 Farm Income Is Expected To Hit 12-Year Lows. “Crop prices may be showing some recent signs of life, but that’s of little comfort for American farmers who are forecast to see their incomes fall to a 12-year low.” (Jeff Wilson & Alan Bjerga, “U.S. Farm Income To Hit 12-Year Low,” Bloomberg, 2/7/18)