Following notification by the Trump administration to Congress that it intends to modernize the trade agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico, the National Pork Producers Council urged the president to make sure that tariffs remain at zero for pork traded in North America.
The White House officially notified the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees, which have jurisdiction over trade, that the administration will update the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The notification begins a 90-day period in which Trump trade officials must consult with Congress on the objectives of the trade talks; 30 days prior to negotiations starting, the administration must make public a “detailed and comprehensive summary of the specific objectives” for a new agreement.
NPPC committed to work with the administration to preserve tariff-free market access for U.S. pork exports to Canada and Mexico, which last year were almost $799 million and nearly $1.4 billion, respectively.
“Canada and Mexico are top pork export markets. We absolutely must not have any disruptions in exports to our No. 2 (Mexico) and No. 4 (Canada) markets,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill.
Since NAFTA went into effect Jan. 1, 1994, U.S. trade north and south of the borders has more than tripled, growing more rapidly than U.S. trade with the rest of the world. Canada and Mexico are the two largest destinations for U.S. goods and services, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports, adding $80 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 3 million American jobs, according to data from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. In fact, U.S. manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico have increased nearly 260 percent over the past 23 years, and U.S. farm exports to the countries have grown by more than 150 percent.
Under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which Congress approved in June 2015 and which covers trade agreements reached before July 1, 2018, the administration is required to give lawmakers 90-days’ notice prior to entering talks on a trade deal that would require changes in U.S. law needed to comply with the agreement. TPA also requires Congress to consider agreements it receives within a specified time and to vote for or against them without amendments.
“U.S. pork trade with Canada and Mexico has been very robust, and we need to maintain and even improve that trade,” Maschhoff said. “We will work with the Trump administration to do that as it reviews the existing trade deal with our North American neighbors.”[Click here to read the administration’s notification letter to Congress.]