Ag, Business Groups Hit Capitol Hill

DanIndustry News Release, Trade

nafta negotiatorsAs the fourth round of NAFTA talks continues, numerous agriculture and business groups are increasingly concerned about the future of the 23-year old agreement.

Politico’s Morning Ag Report says a large group of organizations, including the American Farm Bureau, National Pork Producers Council, the Coalition of Services Industries, and many others hit Capitol Hill on Wednesday. The goal was to enlist lawmakers in their campaign against the Trump administration approach to trade policy.

The stakes are especially high for ag exporters. Should the agreement be terminated, the resulting increases in tariffs would be low for many economic sectors. However, farmers would see a 25 percent tariff on beef shipments, 45 percent on turkey and some dairy products, and tariffs as high as 75 percent on chicken, potatoes, and high-fructose corn syrup sent to Mexico.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the danger of a NAFTA withdrawal to ag producers was “an empty threat.” He says, “As far as I can tell, there’s not a world oversupply of agricultural products. Unless countries are prepared to have their people go hungry or change their diets, I think it’s more of a threat to try and frighten the agricultural community.”

Two House Democrats who’ve been past critics of trade agreements, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Lloyd Doggett of Texas, are calling on Republicans to hold a hearing on the impact of a potential NAFTA withdrawal.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.