As formal renegotiation discussions for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) begin in Washington, NAWG continues to stress “Do No Harm.” In the next couple of weeks, negotiators from Canada, Mexico, and the United States will commence the second round of NAFTA renegotiations in Mexico City, before heading to Canada for round three. NAWG recognizes some areas where the framework for cross border wheat trade between the three countries can be improved.
“The wheat industry can benefit from some enhancements to NAFTA. A good place to begin is the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules that the three countries already agreed to as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations,” stated Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “With the global push to reduce tariffs, non-tariff barriers (particularly SPS barriers) to trade are becoming increasingly common. It is critical that the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures in any agreement are transparent and based on scientific principles.”
“Another area in need of improvement is Canada’s grading system for U.S. wheat,” stated Goule. “Canadian wheat can freely enter U.S. elevators and receive a grade commensurate with its quality while U.S. wheat brought to Canadian elevators is automatically downgraded to a ‘feed wheat’ grade or the equivalent. This glaring difference is highly concerning and disenfranchises farmers near the border who can’t take advantage of price premiums at Canadian elevators when they occur.”
“The new NAFTA can provide opportunities for both U.S. wheat buyers and wheat producers if negotiated correctly. NAWG will continue to work with the Administration to ensure wheat is present during the renegotiation discussions and that the new terms improve conditions for wheat farmers.”