Trump administration declares intent to renegotiate NAFTA


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a boon for America's farmers and ranchers, and we must maintain a strong partnership between the USA and Mexico, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and national and state grain industry leaders told Mexican officials today at a press conference highlighting the importance of Mexico to USA agriculture.

Over the next 90 days, Lighthizer will consult with lawmakers on the position the USA will take in negotiations, which could begin as early as August 16.

"Their preference is trilateral", Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow told reporters after the meeting.

"Bilateral trade with Mexico has helped to grow agriculture in our state over the years", said Ricketts.

Leaders of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association and U.S. Fashion Industry Association sent a letter to Lighthizer on Tuesday urging him to tread lightly on the 23-year-old pact.

The latest apparent movement on NAFTA comes after Robert Lighthizer was sworn in Monday as USA trade representative. Lighthizer met with the Senate Finance Committee, according to Sen. After Trump publicly slammed Canada's dairy, softwood and energy industries, the USA imposed a 24 per cent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. "There's a strong comfort level with the NAFTA supply chain and that's why companies are concerned". That's because the United States' partners in NAFTA - Canada and Mexico - are this nation's largest customers.

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Nebraska Corn Growers Association president Dan Wesely says it's important to talk to Mexican officials directly with the recent NAFTA developments because they're a top market for US and Nebraska corn.

Guajardo said he would have more information after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Vietnam on Thursday as part of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.

President Donald Trump called the treaty a "disaster" during the election campaign and has threatened to withdraw from the agreement with Mexico and Canada if renegotiated terms aren't favorable enough.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday they "made a lot of progress in getting toward the 90-day letter, ' The Hill reported".

Ohio, Iowa Wisconsin, they pushed back and said no, don't rescind the NAFTA because it's working for us. "But there's just no track record (with the Trump administration) on how it will turn out", says John Weinand, a Hazen, N.D., farmer and president of the state Grain Growers Association. Merely suggesting that NAFTA should be trashed drove up US grain prices, a situation that harmed Mexican importers who couldn't afford the spike.