Monday, 20 November, 2017

Why Trump's combative trade stance makes US farmers nervous

Kenny Thornton | 19 May, 2017, 15:51

The United States has officially indicated its desire to renegotiate the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, triggering a 90-day consultation window before formal talks begin.

The announcement means trilateral negotiations could begin as early as August 16. President Donald Trump's pledge to overhaul NAFTA stretches back to.

"We are going to give renegotiation a good strong shot", Lighthizer says, noting that the 23-year-old agreement needs to better protect American factory workers and to reflect new technologies.

The administration intends to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico "as soon as practicable, but no earlier than 90 days from the date of this notice", according to Lighthizer.

Last month, Trump agreed not to pull out of NAFTA "at this time" during phone calls with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. Within hours, the president reversed course, saying he'd seek a better deal first.

It says they hope to clear up disputes about sugar with Mexico and lumber with Canada before the talks begin.

Toronto CF Kevin Pillar suspended for anti-gay slur
Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar was suspended two games Thursday for yelling an anti-gay slur at a Braves pitcher. Camargo wound up in the game, replacing the injured Freeman and remaining at third base, while Peterson shifted over to first.

"If the administration intends on renegotiating NAFTA, it must guarantee growers that new terms won't reverse the significant benefits for US wheat farmers, like duty free access", said David Schemm, president of the North American Wheat Growers. The agreement eliminated numerous tariffs on trade between the US, Canada and Mexico. During the 1992 presidential campaign, independent candidate Ross Perot famously predicted a "giant sucking sound" as NAFTA pulled US factory jobs south of the border into Mexico. The Canadian official added she is keeping in touch with her Mexican counterpart Luis Videgaray and Mexican Economy Minister Idelfonso Guajardo, who are in charge of the conversations on the NAFTA.

NAFTA was signed by former President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and came into effect in 1994. American farmers have mostly benefited from the reduction in trade barriers. NAFTA had widened access to Mexican and Canadian markets, boosting US farm exports and benefiting many farmers.

Dan Ujczo, an worldwide trade and customs lawyer with cross-border business law firm Dickinson Wright LLP, said sending the letter out so quickly demonstrates a "need for speed" on getting the trade talks underway ahead of the USA midterm elections in 2018 and the Mexican presidential elections in 2018. "President Trump is going to change that".

"With this renegotiation of NAFTA, the Trump Administration has the opportunity to reset that agenda by instituting a new, fair trade framework that works for family farmers, ranchers, and rural residents". The letter also provides specifics about what the US wants to discuss during the negotiations.

In February, the Congressional Research Service released a report on NAFTA, which found the trade agreement "did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters".

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