Farm groups and Ag organizations spoke their mind during hearings before the International Trade Commission on the upcoming North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. While they all had different messages, Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report said the overriding theme was a simple one: don’t harm agricultural exports. Each speaker pushed for benefits favorable to their groups while trying to hold onto or increase benefits from the original agreement. Several different commodity groups expressed general support for the agreement, saying it promoted jobs, growth, and productivity in America. Don Shawcroft, President of the Colorado Farm Bureau, told the committee, “NAFTA has facilitated a very significant increase of trade of U.S. agricultural products to Canada and Mexico, more than quadrupling the $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.1 billion in 2016.” Non-Ag groups spoke before the committee as well. Automakers showed up to express support for the current NAFTA Rules of Origin. The trucking industry pushed to prevent Mexican truckers from driving in the U.S. Politico says most of the supporters were echoing the Chamber of Commerce by saying “do no harm,” a phrase repeated several times over the three days of hearings.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.