The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative wrapped up public comment hearings this week on the upcoming North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. Ag groups representing American farmers and ranchers had a chance to weigh in on what they’d like to see in the talks. A group of Senators also weighed in on what they’d like to see emphasized in the discussions and their number one topic to address is agricultural exports. 17 lawmakers wrote a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressing appreciation for the administration’s careful approach to strengthening the NAFTA agreement while ensuring that no changes are made that could be harmful to agriculture. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says each of the Senators that signed the letter represents states that have significant agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico. Those countries are two of the top five destinations for American agricultural goods since the deal was signed in 1993. Canada and Mexico take in over one-quarter of the value of goods shipped from the U.S. The letter says, “We request that you avoid any revisions to NAFTA and other previously negotiated agreements that would diminish the opportunities for farmers and ranchers to export their goods, especially given the current state of the farm economy.”
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.